Date: 18th February 2013 at 7:57am
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Reds boss Brendan Rodgers was happy with both the character and quality shown by his side as they ended a five match winless run against Swansea City…

Liverpool returned to winning ways with a bang on Sunday afternoon – hitting Swansea city for five at Anfield.

Captain Steven Gerrard set the hosts on the way by slotting home a 34th minute spot kick to make amends for a costly penalty miss against West Bromwich Albion last week.

The game was put beyond doubt shortly after half-time when a goal by Philippe Coutinho, on his full debut, was quickly followed by top-quality strikes from Jose Enrique and Luis Suarez.

Daniel Sturridge took over penalty duties to add a fifth and Liverpool could easily have had more against an understrength Swansea side who clearly had one eye on next week’s League Cup Final.

“It was an important three points,” analysed Rodgers at his post-match press conference. “We’ve been down a bit of a rocky road this week in terms of the games on Monday and Thursday.

“But the Premier League is very important to us and we knew we had to go out with commitment today against a Swansea team that has been brilliant this season.

“It was an outstanding performance and we really showed our character and mental toughness today to get a performance like that. Going into the game it was about keeping a clean-sheet because in the last four games, we haven’t been at our best defensively. So I was very pleased.

“We looked to dominate and create chances and we did. Like in any game of football, it’s important that you start the second half well and in that little period, we scored three goals and that really gave us extra confidence.”

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup understandably rotated his squad for the fixture, leaving out key figures Ashley Williams and Michu, but Rodgers rejected the claim that the move should in any way diminish his side’s comprehensive victory.

“Swansea is a brilliant club and the philosophy there means you can change the team around,” explained Rodgers.

“You can bring different players in and it doesn’t really affect the rhythm or the tempo of their game…

“I said to my players, although the Swansea team has changed, they still have the likes Pablo Hernandez, who has got quality and they have a midfield out there, consisting of two of the three players who have played all season.

“It was still a strong side and I felt our focus in the game was really good and we were hungry for the three points. Our performance showed that.

“They have some outstanding players so I don’t think you can take anything away from the Liverpool players.”

After the game, Rodgers was quick to laud the impact of new signing Coutinho who produced an outstanding all-round display in addition to hitting his first goal for the club since an £8.5m January transfer from Inter Milan.

Rodgers told reporters: “Coutinho is a really talented player. He’s only 20 but he’s had good experience of playing at the highest level.

“He’ll take a wee bit of time to adapt to the whole tempo of the English game. He’s come from Italy where the game is a little slower but he’s a wonderful technician.

“You saw the quality and the speed of his passing all game – he’s got wonderful game-knowledge. I’ve got high hopes for him. He’s the type of player that we are trying to bring in here – a technician who has a strong character and good mentality. I’m sure he’ll progress very well.”

The victory was marred however by a late shoulder injury to Fabio Borini which will sideline the forward for the remainder of the season.

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