Coutinho shines on debut as Liverpool rout Swansea

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool ended a winless run of five games in impressive fashion on Sunday as they whipped an under-strength Swansea 5-0 in their Premier League clash.

Victory saw Liverpool leapfrog Swansea into seventh spot and give former Swans manager Brendan Rodgers something to smile about at the end of a week that saw defeats by West Brom and then Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League.

A penalty from Steven Gerrard got them on their way and three goals early in the second-half from impressive debutant Philippe Coutinho, Jose Enrique and Luis Suarez wrapped up the points against a side seemingly distracted by the League Cup final with Bradford next Sunday.

Daniel Sturridge, who like Coutinho missed the Europa League match, added a fifth from the penalty spot.

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup was made to regret sending out a starting line-up shorn of several first choice players, including leading scorer Michu, preferring to give the 15-goal Spaniard time on the bench.

Rodgers was delighted with the reaction of his players to the poor results in the week.

“It was a brilliant performance and the players’ attitude was tremendous. It was important to get a clean sheet today,” said the Northern Irishman.

“It’s always been the case at Swansea that you can change players and still be strong.”

Laudrup for his part apologised to the fans who had made the trip and said the players on the pitch should have performed better.

“I wanted to leave a few out but that’s not an excuse, we could have lost 10-0,” he said.

“We are all to blame, starting with me and the players. You can’t play like that. It wasn’t what we wanted in the build-up to the final but now we have to get back on the horse.”

Liverpool, who in three previous Premier League meetings with Swansea had failed to score, made all the running from the kick-off with Suarez looking particularly sharp.

However, he should have done better after Sturridge had done all the work in beating two defenders and then goalkeeper Michel Vorm before going to ground, but with the goal at his mercy the Uruguayan put the ball wide. Liverpool’s appeals for a penalty for a foul on Sturridge fell on deaf ears. — AFP

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