Rodgers criticises Premier League
Published 15/02/2013 | 18:11
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is disappointed by the scheduling of Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Swansea at Anfield.
In this weekend's only top-flight fixture, the Reds face the Swans - who are in next Sunday's Capital One Cup final - having already played twice this week, losing 2-0 to West Brom on Monday before being beaten by the same scoreline at Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie - the second leg of which is next Thursday.
Asked about the timing of the match against his former club Swansea, Rodgers said: "I was very disappointed with the Premier League to be honest."
He went on: "To put it 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...I think it is another example of the Premier League in this country not helping teams whatsoever.
"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."
Liverpool have forward Daniel Sturridge and midfielder Philippe Coutinho back available for Sunday's game. The pair return to the squad having both been ineligible for Thursday's match, with Rodgers confirming Sturridge - who has been nursing a thigh problem - is fit to play.
Coutinho, a January signing from Inter Milan, made his Reds debut as a substitute in the West Brom contest and asked if the Brazil international might be in line for his first Liverpool start this weekend, Rodgers said: "He is certainly in my thinking.
"He has come in and needed that little bit of time to adapt to the new way of working and new life, but you can see the kid's qualities. He has got good experience for a young player, so on Sunday we will have a look."
Daniel Agger, after criticising his own performance in the West Brom defeat on Twitter, did not travel to Russia but Rodgers has indicated the defender will be involved against Swansea and praised the contribution he has made since the start of the campaign. Rodgers said: "He has been outstanding this season - he has that real warrior spirit.
"We have just had a little run of games where as a team - and for us, there is no blame on the individual - we haven't defended as well as what we had done. He is one of the top European centre-halves and we are very happy to have him here."