Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is set for an emotional Capital One Cup night at Anfield after the holders, who impressed at West Bromwich Albion as they started the defence of their crown with a 2-1 come-from-behind Third Round victory, were handed a Fourth Round tie at home to his previous club Swansea City.
It will certainly be emotional for Rodgers, however, the Reds boss – who joined the Merseysiders from Swansea after leading the Welsh club to the Premier League two seasons ago and then last term guiding them to a good debut campaign – is determined to knock out the Swans and keep the Cup in the Anfield trophy cabinet.
Rodgers said: “Swansea is a wonderful club, a brilliant club, and I was in no hurry to leave. I could only leave there to go to another special club, and so when Swansea come to Anfield it will be special for me, very much so – and with two wonderful sets of supporters in the ground I’m sure it will be a real good night.
“I’ve said to the players, though, that the Cup is stored at Anfield and I don’t want us to give it up easily. I want us to fight to do really well in the competition, even though it will be difficult because of our lack of depth and we’ll be really stretched.
“I’ve only got 12 fit senior players and so it was really good to see a wonderful performance by a young side against an experienced West Brom team that are hard to beat. For us to dominate the game like we did typified what we’re about.”
Liverpool did indeed dominate after falling behind to an early Gabriel Tamas goal, midfielder Nuri Sahin equalising and then hitting the winner eight minutes from time as Rodgers’ young guns deservedly progressed into the last 16.
The youngest of those young guns, substitute Jerome Sinclair, entered the fray as a late substitute and in the process entered the Liverpool record books as the club’s youngest ever debutant at the tender age of 16 years and six days.
Rodgers said: “Irrespective of age, I’ll always look at young players who have got talent, personality, the ability to learn and the courage to get on the ball. I’ve worked with Jerome a number of times and he’s really focused, he wants to learn and when you’ve got that hunger to learn as a young player it can take you a long way.”
The manager is now hoping that he can take Liverpool a long way as they begin to show signs of recovering from a shaky start to their Premier League season, which coincidentally began at West Brom – with that first meeting ending in a 3-0 defeat.
After gaining revenge on the same ground to progress into Round Four of the Capital One Cup, Rodgers said: “I think this was a symbolic night because it showed how we’ve moved on from the first day of the season here to the last two or three weeks, when our tempo and relentless possession have started to come through.”