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If Suarez is fired up, will Swans' hopes nosedive?

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 23, 2012

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BRENDAN Rodgers will say a warm hello to various familiar faces when he makes a first return to the Liberty Stadium this weekend.

He might even nip into the club shop.

Rodgers, after all, will want to make sure his centre-forward has a copy of Ashley Williams's new book.

Realistically, of course, Rodgers won't need to bother.

Realistically, Suarez cannot fail to have read the passages of Williams's Premier League Diary which refer to him already.

For they have been picked up by every newspaper in the land.

Intriguing

Rodgers's maiden trip back to South Wales would have made for an intriguing fixture even before Williams had a right old dig at the Premier League's top scorer.

Now the mouth waters a little more.

It is apparently a mere coincidence that Williams's story of last season was published in the week that Swansea face Liverpool.

While the timing might be good news for sales of the book — for it is now receiving huge publicity — it is not ideal for Michael Laudrup.

Williams's thoughts on Suarez would have caused a stir at any point in the season.

In the week that the two square up on the pitch, they have whipped up something of a storm.

And Suarez has proved already in recent times that like the Incredible Hulk, he can do damage when he is angry.

Think last month's Merseyside derby, when David Moyes had a pop at Suarez in the build-up and the Uruguayan responded by inspiring Liverpool at Goodison Park.

Given that Suarez is a wonderful talent, a player capable of turning games on his own, it may not be the wisest move to give him extra motivation to impress.

Then again, Liverpool should be in the mood anyway on Sunday.

The Reds, after all, must feel they owe Swansea one having failed to win any of the clubs' three meetings over the last 12 months.

First there was the goalless draw at Anfield last November, when Rodgers's Swansea side were applauded off by the locals having played their way to a well-deserved point.

Next up was Kenny Dalglish's final game as Liverpool manager when thousands of Elvis Presley quiffs were bouncing up and down thanks to Danny Graham's late goal.

That fixture would also prove to be Rodgers's last as Swansea boss, for it was not long afterwards that Liverpool's American owners came calling and, with a tear in his eye, the Ulsterman said goodbye to SA1.

The first Rodgers reunion came, unexpectedly, a little over three weeks ago, when Swansea went to Liverpool in the Capital One Cup and won in some style.

Rodgers suggested afterwards that Liverpool needed to play more like Swansea.

This was praise indeed for his former club — and one of various comments in recent times which highlight how much work Swansea's old managerial regime have to do if they are to succeed on Merseyside.

It has not been an easy start to life in Liverpool for Rodgers, Colin Pascoe and the rest.

The Reds did not chalk up their first Premier League win of the season until the sixth game, and their current league position — 11th, one place below Swansea — is not deemed high enough for a club of their status.

But there have been signs of improvement of late, with Liverpool unbeaten in seven league games ahead of the Swansea trip.

Progress

Rodgers appears to be making progress — despite the fact that there are issues with his squad.

Williams may not be a fan, but Rodgers must be thrilled to have Suarez around.

Without the 13-goal striker, after all, the early days of the Rodgers era would have been much more difficult.

Having sent Andy Carroll out on loan, Liverpool made a mess of things on deadline day back in August and ended up with no replacement.

That left Suarez as the only senior forward on the club's books, and they are lucky he has stayed fit and free from suspension.

Rodgers has been disappointed, however, by the contributions made by high earners like Joe Cole and Stewart Downing.

Hence he has been brave enough to introduce the likes of Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Suso to a first team which is now a little short on experience but long on promise.

The fear for Rodgers right now is that if Suarez does not deliver, Liverpool have a lack of players who can do damage in the final third.

Steven Gerrard has not been at his potent best of late while Joe Allen, as Swansea's fans are aware, is never going to score bucket-loads from midfield.

Allen's return to the club who brought him up is another of Sunday's subplots, another story in a game which should make for interesting viewing.

Swansea will hope that Liverpool's European exertions — they were in action against Young Boys last night — have an impact on their energy levels on Sunday.

And Laudrup will have fingers crossed that Swansea can cope with Rodgers's frontline, that Williams wins his duel with Suarez.

Demba Ba's stoppage-time goal robbed Swansea of a first clean sheet in 13 matches last weekend, though it did not deny them victory.

Laudrup's team continue to concede goals, but they have done it less often of late and hence they have lost just one of their last six games.

Rodgers's Liverpool are progressing, while Swansea are in better shape now than at any stage since last summer's change of management.

Laudrup got one over on his predecessor last month.

Providing Suarez does not have the final word, the Dane has a decent chance to make it two this weekend.

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  • morton1947  |  November 23 2012, 7:38AM

    Let's be honest love him or hate him he is currently on fire and is certainly one to be watched but hopefully we can keep the shackles on him and do the damage at the other end of the pitch where Liverpool have looked vunerable. I feel the home fans can have a big say in how this turns out and hopefully we will all be well up for it and ensure our former Manager goes home empty handed. Much will depnd on how well our midfield play and I hope that we play Michu in his deeper role once again as he is far more dangerous when he ghosts in un-noticed. Swans for me to win 2-1 and keep our current improved performances going.

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