Michael Laudrup: Swansea City focus will be right but pressure is on Liverpool
MICHAEL Laudrup believes all the pressure will be on Liverpool this weekend — but insists Swansea City heads won’t be at Wembley already.
Swansea return from their warm-weather training break in Dubai tomorrow to step up preparations for Sunday’s Premier League trip to Anfield.
And though the first major final in their history is looming, Laudrup is adamant there will be no lack of focus on Merseyside.
Liverpool are the side with a greater need for points, particularly after their shock home defeat to an out-of-form West Brom side last Monday night.
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The Reds’ former Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers recently suggested they can still finish in the Champions League places this season, but they are eight points adrift of fourth spot following the Baggies reverse.
Laudrup believes there will be no weight of expectation on his team’s shoulders as they line up against Luis Suarez and Co.
But despite their Wembley date with Bradford City, Swansea will go all out for their second triumph in Liverpool this season.
“When you go to Anfield it’s one of those grounds where you can never expect to get anything — it’s like Old Trafford, the Etihad, the Emirates or Stamford Bridge,” Laudrup said.
“I know we have got some good results at some of those grounds this season, but normally the home team are the big favourites.
“After beating Queens Park Rangers, we can go there with no pressure at all. That doesn’t mean we will go there and give away the game, of course not — we always want to be competitive.
“But there’s no pressure on us. The pressure will be on Liverpool, especially after they lost to West Brom. They are the team who have to go into Europe.”
Liverpool are in Europa League action tonight, with Rodgers pledging to field a strong side in the first leg of their last-32 tie with Zenit St Petersburg.
Liverpool flew out to Russia yesterday and, while Swansea have had some time to rest following the QPR victory, their weekend hosts have had a hectic schedule.
And Rodgers has admitted he is frustrated about the decision to rearrange the Swansea game for this Sunday.
The two clubs had been due to play on February 24, but that date had to change once Swansea reached the Capital One Cup final.
“The Sunday game hasn’t helped us if I’m being perfectly honest,” Rodgers said.
“We weren’t due to play Swansea until the following week and I would have thought that after that was the best time to play that game.
“I want to go in (tonight) as strong as we can. I think we’re on the down slope now — we’ve only got 12 games in the league and hopefully we can progress in the Europa League. We’ll be looking to go strong.
“On the back of the players playing international games and two tough games away to Arsenal and Manchester City, it’s something we’ll need to look at.
“But there certainly won’t be wholesale changes as there were in the earlier rounds because this is a competition that we want to be strong in and we’ve now only got two opportunities to get through to the next round.”
Swansea are unbeaten in four games against Liverpool since they were promoted to the top flight, and won at Anfield on their run to the League Cup final.