Reds sink sorry Swans
Published 17/02/2013 | 17:11
New signing Philippe Coutinho marked his Liverpool debut with a goal as an understrength Swansea side, with one eye on a Wembley final next week, were brushed aside 5-0 at Anfield.
The 20-year-old scored the important second moments after the break following Steven Gerrard's first-half penalty.
Jose Enrique, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, also from the spot, finished off the visitors who rarely looked interested in, or capable of, making a contest of it.
Swansea boss Michael Laudrup, with his thoughts on next weekend's Capital One Cup final, did his predecessor a huge favour by naming a weakened side, leaving out 15-goal striker Michu, captain Ashley Williams and Nathan Dyer.
After striker Roland Lamah's hopeful appeals for a handball against Glen Johnson were waved away by referee Howard Webb the match settled into a familiar and all-too-frustrating pattern for the hosts.
England right-back Johnson planted a free header well wide, Gerrard drilled a free-kick into the wall and Suarez fired the rebound over, before the Uruguay international whipped a 25-yard free-kick just over the bar and similarly dispatched a dipping volley.
Sturridge missed the target with a close-range header before Coutinho stabbed the loose ball wide with the goal at his mercy. Webb was unconvinced by Kemy Agustien's unnecessary challenge on Suarez close to the touchline but assistant Mike Mularkey saw it differently and immediately flagged for a penalty.
Gerrard stepped up and succeeded in beating Michel Vorm for Liverpool's first goal. Sturridge had one more chance before the break but having been put through by Suarez his left-footed toe poke was blocked by the head of Kyle Bartley.
Any ideas of a Swans comeback were snuffed out within 16 seconds of the restart as Coutinho skipped through the visitors' defence to beat Vorm. A well-worked goal saw Enrique poke home Sturridge's pass before Suarez went past both Swansea's centre-backs to fire home the fourth.
Sturridge finally got his goal but only courtesy of Gerrard's generosity in relinquishing penalty duties when substitute Wayne Routledge handled. Perhaps the only sour point for Liverpool at the end was finishing with 10 men after third and final substitute Fabio Borini went off with a painful-looking shoulder injury.