x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Premier League round-up: Swansea stalemate in return for Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool manager in goalless draw on return to Liberty Stadium, Tottenham beat West Ham United in London derby and Southampton stun Newcastle.

Liverpool`s Daniel Agger, left, leaps above Swansea City's Ashley Williams, centre, and Chico Flores, right. Geoff Caddick / EPA
Liverpool`s Daniel Agger, left, leaps above Swansea City's Ashley Williams, centre, and Chico Flores, right. Geoff Caddick / EPA

SWANSEA // In the 100-year history of Swansea City, Brendan Rodgers ranks alongside John Toshack among their two most successful managers. And yet, as they approach the six-month anniversary of his exit, it is hard to claim the Welsh club are missing him.

Even though Liverpool extended their unbeaten run to eight league games, they still trail Swansea in the table.

The manager's past and present cancelled each other out, albeit stylishly. There are plenty of common denominators between the Northern Irishman's old and new teams, from pleasing passing football to the reliance on an individual to score, and they included a share of the spoils.

"I'll never say coming here is two points dropped," Rodgers said. Indeed, it was a fair scoreline. Rodgers felt his team lacked belief in the final third but, with Michu and Luis Suarez failing to add to their combined tally of 17 league goals, both sides lacked a cutting edge. Raheem Sterling came closest to providing it, the 17-year-old winger flicking the ball up before driving a dipping volley against the bar.

Swansea, who had defeated Liverpool in Rodgers's final game as City manager, may have recorded a repeat but for one of their alumni. Joe Allen, who followed the manager to Anfield, cleared an Ashley Williams header off his own line.

Indeed, Swansea received £20 million (Dh117.7m) from Liverpool for Rodgers and the midfielder Allen in the summer.

The proceeds have been reinvested wisely by Michael Laudrup, the manager, and Pablo Hernandez, their liveliest attacker, had a series of shots from distance; the finest, a late free kick, was clawed away by his fellow Spaniard Pepe Reina.

His reward was Liverpool's fourth clean sheet in seven league games, a sign that, after early-season errors, they are tightening up. Yet it was an unusual rearguard that was selected.

The winger Stewart Downing started at left-back with the full-back Jose Enrique further up the flank. Nevertheless, Liverpool almost profited from their unorthodoxy; Enrique had a goal disallowed, sliding in marginally offside to convert Suarez's cross - Rodgers disputed the decision to chalk it off - and sent Glen Johnson in behind the Swansea defence for an effort Michel Vorm blocked.

Yet while Enrique again suggested he has something to offer as an ersatz winger, the experiment with Downing as a defender failed.

"We'll look to do some business in January," Rodgers said. His Liverpool remain a work in progress. For now, the Swansea side he left behind are faring better. It was a reunion where the Swans need have few regrets about their parting.

Southampton 2 Newcastle 0

Nigel Adkins, the Southampton manager, denied his predecessor Alan Pardew a winning return to St Mary’s yesterday. Southampton took a first-half lead through their captain Adam Lallana, who linked with Jason Puncheon to set up Gaston Ramirez for their second goal after the break.

Tottenham Hotspur 3 West Ham 1

A virtuoso performance by Gareth Bale and a brace of goals from Jermain Defoe saw Tottenham Hotspur beat West Ham United 3-1 yesterday to end a run of three successive league defeats. Andy Carroll’s first West Ham goal provided consolation for the visitors.

* With agencies

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