At the End of the Day, There’s Something to Say: Swansea City Preview

Raheem gave up chasing birds
We’ve been sitting around all season waiting for a response; we still haven’t recovered from the opening day loss to West Bromwich Albion, so it was no surprise when two late goals forced us to give up all three points in the reverse fixture on Monday night. When the Baggies do the double, it’s time to have a good hard look at your situation.

Turning the tide in the Europa League on Thursday night wasn’t on either and if Zenit St. Petersburg were somehow channeling Steve Clarke’s side, then you have to say good on them — they did just enough to get by and we let them get away with it time and again. In both matches we controlled everything, but our out and out wastefulness in front of net once again made sure we left with only our wounds to lick. I expect some seasoning for our various scratches and scrapes when Swansea comes to Anfield on Sunday; and you know what? I’m glad.

Let me be the last to say it: Champions League football is out of reach. We’re twelve points behind Tottenham in the race for fourth and with only 12 matches left, the gap is too large to make up — though that was just as true in September as it is in February. We’re not stacking up and we’re not building on last season; though it’s hard to be entirely happy with that, it’s not heaping the misery on the way you’d expect. We’ve got a young side that needs maturity, experience and a example of how the boss expects us to play. What better side to show them how it’s done than the one Rodgers taught to do it?

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup inherited a side playing solid football. The Welsh side were the surprise package of last season and they’ve gone from strength to strength during this campaign. the peak — for this season anyway — is coming up quick in their upcoming League Cup final with Bradford City; Swansea’s first appearance in the showpiece fixture of a domestic cup. If you’re going to start handing out plaudits, you have to start with our boss first. Brendan Rodgers built a strong base in Michel Vorm, Angel Rangel, Nathan Dyer and Ashley Williams, instilling not only a sense of how he wanted the game played, but a belief that it would work if they did it right. They’ve done just that and new boy Laudrup has been able to take that foundation and expand upon it with his own distinctive vision — though it’s not one that’s strayed far from the plan Rodgers laid down.

A fit again piece of the puzzle
Michu, brought in from Spanish side Rayo Vallecano for £2mil, has been a revelation with fifteen league goals to date; that tally is respectable for any striker in their first top flight season and it’s safe to say he’s not done yet. Thankfully, we have a pair of strikers that can match up.

In his pre-match press conference, the boss confirmed that Daniel Sturridge is fit available to face the Swans come Sunday. If we’ve become over reliant on the former Chelsea man since his January arrival, then it’s hard to feign even the slightest bit of surprise; four goals in six appearances is exactly the kind of return we were looking for on our money and with Luis Suarez in a mini-slump, Sturridge is exactly the type of player that can inspire the Uruguayan to climb right back out of it. The news that Philippe Coutinho could be in line to make his first start for the club since his move from Inter Milan only a short while ago has to go down as another positive and a sign that Rodgers is going to work from the ground up.

Groan all you like, but this is happening. No, we’re not building on the relative “success” of last season and if you say that Kenny Dalglish wasn’t given enough time to show what he could do, I won’t argue with you one bit; but that’s neither here or there. If you can name me a Manager that was going to come in and turn this side — the one that’s finished no higher than 6th in our last three campaigns — around without starting from the beginning, I’ll show you a man that you were setting up for failure.

Truth be told, we may not take three points from Swansea on Sunday. In all honesty, it’s a good possibility that Zenit St. Petersburg will end our last push for silverware when they visit Anfield on Thursday and it’s even more likely that we won’t be playing on the continent next season. It’s not OK and I don’t particularly like it, but it’s our reality and that I’m willing to accept. We can keep trying to build a contender with spare parts and patchwork fixes, or we can start from the ground up and build a big Red monster. Brendan Rodgers, for all his blind spots and inexperience, is trying to do just that and if you don’t think emulating his Swansea model is a good idea, then you go tell the Jacks that when they take home their first major trophy ever on the back of his hard work.

We may not beat his former side on Sunday and as much as it hurts to say it, that’s alright for now. Having the Baggies do the double means that it’s time to have a look at the squad, the system, the tactics and, it looks like most importantly, the belief. Maybe I’m wrong, but the one I think will be looking hardest at all of these, and more, is Rodgers himself. Will he find a solution? Well, I can assure you he won’t if we don’t give him time.

steven.

Ok, that was more of an editorial than a Match Preview, but I have a keyboard and you don’t. Fine, I guess you have one too. Put it to good use and leave a comment.

Steven McMillan

Can’t find up from down or tell black from white, but doesn't care cause it’s all Red to him. When he's not pissing and moaning about all things Liverpool, he’s chatting nonsense with his multiple personalities — or his “entourage” as he likes to call them.

  • After departured Rafa Benitez ,LFC look like LOST CONFIDENT TO WINNING and CAN WIN THE TITTLE.It is easy to beat or bullied LFC team.LFC also make some mistakes when only wants to sign youngest talent but never consider about quality. They scared about budget.Anybody can hijack LFC players target if they spend a lot of money.

  • daz

    lol rangel, dyer and williams were already playing for the swans long before he got there and its not his style of play!! do some research for once before believing that it was brendons team, hes just the one taking credit for martinez and souzas work!

  • Bo_Crowder

    Correct Daz. The only thing Rodgers brought to the Swansea mix was Scott Sinclair. Everything else was already in place.

  • SwanseJack

    Glad to see people acknowledging the fact that the Jacks were not Rodgers team. Yes he got us to the Premiership but the facts are, that we were playing this style of football for years before he arrived. The sooner the media and every other writer who keeps stating that he taught us this style etc (as in your article) actually gets their facts correct the better. He is a good manager and will need time to achieve the style he wants but the truth is due to this false credit for which he has been happy to acknowledge everyone expects an immediate transformation.

  • Dai

    Absolutely right, and indeed if you look at the Swansea team sheet on Sunday it will be very much Laudrup’s team, with a lot of different faces from last year. Brendan still gets some credit from the Jack army for promotion, but he has caused real resentment with his attempts to unsettle a few of our players by hinting at possible moves.

  • Johnjubal

    I think you are going Brendan Rogers to much credit for what he did at Swansea. Swansea already had a good foundation and the likes of Ashley Williams, Nathan Dyer and Angel Rangel were already at the club who were playing their part in the clubs success before Brendan Rogers got there. The success of the club is far more than what Brendan is credited for who played a part in get the club to the premier. I am sure if Brendan wasn’t given the task and opportunity someone else who have succeeded because the foundations were already laid. We could have brought in Kenny Dalglish who would have also done a great job I’m sure!

  • steven.

    yes, you’re correct .. maybe i should have expanded on that point more .. i didn’t mean that they were bought by Rodgers, but that they weren’t playing in the Premier League or up to the level that they’re now playing at ..

    they may have been decent players in the Championship, but they’ve become better players in the EPL .. i’d attribute that change to Rodgers and the years he spent working with them ..

  • steven.

    i think Roberto Martinez is a fantastic manager who did a lot of work to build up Swansea to what they are today, but from what i’ve seen, Brendan put a lot of work into that side to make it his own despite having a base to work off of ..

    maybe i’m overstating his importance a bit, but former managers don’t gain promotion to the EPL and stay up with aplomb…

  • steven.

    i’m sure that both Sousa and Martinez played a large role in shaping the way the team play .. admittedly, i don’t know much of Sousa, but i’ve seen Wigan play a number of times and the similarities do ring true ..

    regardless, i’m sure the media, including myself hand Rodgers more credit than he’s due in some instances, but for the two years he was in charge he’s not going to be doing the exact same things as the former managers .. each manager has their own distinct vision and although they may play in a style similar to former managers, in a lot of cases it’s their tinkering and ideas that can make the difference ..

  • steven.

    the belief has certainly gone out of the side, but i think Kenny did quite a bit to restore it ..

    in regards to youngsters, we can’t compete financially with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City and to a certain extent, United and Arsenal .. what we can do though is sign a young player like Coutinho, who’s not a £20mil player right now, and mould him into one ..

    are we too worried about the budget? i think we’re worried about the future and not overpaying like assholes for players who aren’t going to perform.

  • dianne

    I’m a Swansea fan and I’m sorry to say the only people he brought in were Vorm Sinclair Graham and Sigurdsson. All the others you mentioned Martinez brought. Do your research properly and you will discover a small Spanish gentleman called Roberto Martinez. God all this bull annoys me !!

  • steven.

    please see previous response:

    yes, you’re correct .. maybe i should have expanded on that point more .. i didn’t mean that they were bought by Rodgers, but that they weren’t playing in the Premier League or up to the level that they’re now playing at ..

    they may have been decent players in the Championship, but they’ve become better players in the EPL .. i’d attribute that change to Rodgers and the years he spent working with them ..

  • dianne

    And another thing before I go. The success of Swansea is down to 1 man and 1man only. Our very clever, astute, down to earth, bloke next door, realist. He pulled the club out of the brink of extinction 10 years ago with his intelligence and never say die attitude. His name is Mr. HuwJenkins. A.k.A The Man in Swansea.

  • Swans fan

    You credit Rodgers for changing the team and taking them further but then discredit laudrup saying he is carrying on what Rodgers left?

    Don’t get me wrong Rodgers done very well here, the main cause of that was the signing of Sinclair and borini. In regards to style of play, our chairman makes sure of that when appointing a manager.
    Rodgers had us playing a style of football where we keep the ball away from the opposition for as long as possible to prevent them from scoring (and quite rightly to as it was out first season in the prem).
    You could argue that a goalscorer was the only thing Sousa was missing, but what he done was make sure we could defend. We set a record of 24 clean sheets in the championship under Sousa, so that’s where our defensive capabilities stem from.
    As for laudrup, he has deviated away from all this keeping it away from the opposition and now has us playing a more adventurous style of football where scoring goals is our main focus first, then defend when we need to – 10 conceded away from home all season is evidence of this.
    Rodgers got far to much credit for his work here and although I am thankful that he got us here, it was only his connections with Chelsea that got us promoted and made us successful, not his management.

  • steven.

    i hardly discredited him by saying he had a strong base to work off of…the easiest thing to fuck up is a sure thing and Laudrup has done anything but that…