Rodgers backs Swans for more Wembley glory
BRENDAN Rodgers will keep his fingers crossed for Swansea City next weekend, declaring: "I hope it is as good as the club's last trip to Wembley."
Liverpool gave Rodgers's old side a pre-Capital One Cup final thrashing at Anfield yesterday.
Much-changed Swansea were beaten 5-0 — their worst defeat in more than a decade — thanks largely to a spell early in the second half where Michael Laudrup's defence fell apart.
Rodgers reckons Swansea will have to get their heads right after their mauling on Merseyside — and warns that Bradford City will be a tough nut to crack next Sunday.
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But the Liverpool boss reckons Swansea's quality should be enough to see them lift a first major trophy.
"I suppose it's a role reversal for Swansea, who will be the team who are under pressure because they will go into the game as clear favourites," Rodgers said.
"I know (Bradford boss) Phil Parkinson well and he has done outstandingly well to get his team to the final. They have beaten Premier League sides before in this run and we have seen that the top clubs can have a hard time in the final — look at Liverpool and Cardiff last season.
"I think it will be a tight game but, if you look at the quality Swansea have in the team, hopefully they can replicate their last trip to Wembley and win it."
Rodgers conceded that Liverpool had been helped by Laudrup's decision to rest some of his big-hitters yesterday — but claimed his players still deserved plenty of credit.
"It was similar to when we played Swansea in the cup earlier in the season and we made changes and they played a strong side," he pointed out.
"They were the better team that night and deserved to win. They made changes this time, but it was still a strong side and I don't think you can take anything away from our players.
"Obviously if you leave out Michu, one of the top scorers in the country, and Ashley Williams, one of the best central defenders in the league, it is going to have an effect.
"But because of their philosophy, Swansea can make changes and it does not really affect their rhythm or tempo.
"Pablo Hernandez is quality, and the boy from Osasuna (Roland Lamah) is a good player. Two of their midfielders have played most of the season and they had a stalwart in Garry Monk and young Ben Davies, who has had an incredible season.
"But our focus was really good. We have been on a bumpy road this week and this was an important three points for us against a team who have been brilliant this season."
Rodgers dodged questions about what Liverpool might achieve between now and the end of the season after an uplifting win.
"I have said a couple of things in the past and then you all hammer it in the papers," he said. "I am optimistic, but we are not getting too carried away.
"I liken us to a marathon runner waiting to make a move at the end of the race, but we have tripped up a couple of times. That's something we have to change."