Match Report: Liverpool ensure Swansea pay for dreaming of Wembley final

Liverpool 5 Swansea City 0

Anfield

When Phil Parkinson rose from his seat yesterday, two thoughts would have accompanied the Bradford City manager back to his car.

The first would have been that, if Swansea City approach the Capital One Cup final with anything like this level of incompetence, he has every chance of becoming the first fourth-tier manager to lift a major trophy. The second is that he is unlikely to be facing this Swansea team on Sunday.

Watch all the highlights from the game

You could accuse Michael Laudrup of being utterly professional or you could wonder why, when preparing for a final against a League Two side that cost less than £10,000 to assemble, the Swansea manager felt it necessary to rest half-a-dozen first choice players.

Liverpool are not the kind of side to take liberties against. Lately, they have perfected the art of crushing mediocre opposition and those with their minds elsewhere. Kenny Dalglish's last game as Liverpool manager at Anfield had seen a Chelsea side who were mentally already in Munich, preparing for the European Cup final, brushed aside 4-1. Swansea's last defeat here had been an 8-0 humbling in 1990. Laudrup thought they might have conceded 10 yesterday.

"It was a nightmare," he reflected afterwards. "We were slaughtered in the first half and we were still in the game at half-time. Then, in the second half we gave away three goals in 10 minutes. It was awful.

"We have to say sorry to the fans who travelled from Wales. We rested Michu and, after the injury to Chico Flores, we rested Ashley Williams. We still should have been competitive and yet we could have lost 10-0.

"Their heads were somewhere else and it was horrible to watch. It was not what we wanted but what we got and we have to get back on our horse and prepare for the final." It had been thought Swansea would travel to Wembley by coach.

Only the dislocated shoulder that saw Fabio Borini writhing by the touchline in agony and which will cost the striker the rest of the season cast a shadow over Anfield. In the wake of defeats in three competitions to Oldham, West Bromwich Albion and Zenit St Petersburg, Brendan Rodgers required an emphatic show of strength if all the sneers about Barcelona on the Mersey were not to grow ever more spiteful. This was it.

Just before kick-off the statisticians from Opta noted that this season Liverpool averaged 11 attempts per goal. This was slightly better. There were 35 shots aimed at Michel Vorm's net and five were successful.

Liverpool had skimmed the crossbar, peppered the Kop with shots and, in Stewart Downing's case, threatened the corner flag before, finally, Swansea gave way.

Laudrup thought they had come through the worst when Daniel Sturridge headed over from close range and Philippe Coutinho somehow shot wide with Vorm on the turf and the goal gaping. However, having survived the shotgun blasts, Swansea drew a revolver and calmly aimed for the middle of their own foot.

Luis Suarez was in the area but the ball was going out of play and the Uruguayan was not an obvious threat when Dutch midfielder Kemy Augustien stuck out a leg and tripped him. The linesman, rather than the referee, Howard Webb, awarded the penalty and Steven Gerrard (left) who had missed from the spot against West Brom, stepped up to take it. This time, Liverpool's captain did not miss. It was driven into the right corner of Vorm's net, although the Dutchman was inches from it and slapped his gloves against the ground in fury. It was Liverpool's 15th shot of the afternoon.

Within 10 minutes of the restart, the game had become a rout. Coutinho, the slight, highly technical Brazilian midfielder for whom Rodgers paid Internazionale £8.5m, was given a standing ovation on his debut. Not just for the run that brought Liverpool's second but for the back-heel that might have brought a third, and much else besides.

Jose Enrique's anticipation of Sturridge's pass, which was wonderfully instinctive for a left-back, brought a third, and a slaloming run from Suarez created the fourth.

Vorm had just saved brilliantly with his feet from Sturridge when Swansea gave away a second, equally needless penalty as Wayne Routledge, for reasons best known to himself, stuck up a hand to meet Enrique's cross.

Gerrard was going to take it but Sturridge had unquestionably deserved a goal and the ball was passed to him. His penalty was not as good as his captain's but it produced the same result.

"Can we make the top four?" Rodgers reflected. "Every time I mention it, you guys in the press slaughter me for saying it. But I am a manager and therefore I am an optimist." So for the moment is Phil Parkinson.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn