Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers 'bemused' over Swansea scheduling


Click to follow
The Independent Football

After a week of disappointments, the pressure appears to be mounting on Brendan Rodgers.

The Liverpool manager launched a furious attack on the decision to schedule tomorrow's Premier League game with his former club Swansea at Anfield in the wake of Thursday's 2-0 defeat to Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League, describing it as "bemusing".

Their surprise defeat to Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup fourth round had left Liverpool with a free weekend before Thursday's second leg, but with Michael Laudrup's Swans contesting the Capital One Cup final next Sunday, the league fixture has been brought forward. Citing other leagues, where domestic matches are often moved to give their teams the best opportunity in European competition, Rodgers made no secret of his disappointment yesterday.

Yet with his side 12 points behind fourth place with just 12 games to play, the Northern Irishman's admission that his squad may have to wait until next season before they can challenge for Champions League qualification will potentially give owners Fenway Sports Group more cause for concern in the wake of the 2-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion on Monday. "We may not be just good enough at the end of the day," said Rodgers.

"We have some top players here and some world-class players, but it might not be this year for us that we can make that jump. But certainly, what we will do in every game is give everything and like we have seen in the last two games, in terms of the work-rate, intensity and effort the players are putting in, I can't ask for any more."

Liverpool have forward Daniel Sturridge and midfielder Philippe Coutinho available for the visit of Swansea after both were ineligible for the trip to Russia. Without a Liverpool win in their last five matches in all competitions, Rodgers is keen to end that sequence against the club he left in the summer but believes his team's midweek exploits could take a toll.

"I was very disappointed with the Premier League, to be honest, to put [the Swansea game] in on a week when we have played on a Monday and played on a Thursday in an away trip to Russia, and put it in between that and another important European game on Thursday," he said.

"I think every other country in Europe will always try to help their teams – some of them will play on a Friday before a European game. So for us to have it thrown in there when there were other free weeks was bemusing, to say the least."