Premier League - Swansea keep Rodgers and Liverpool at bay

Premier League, Liberty Stadium - Swansea 0 Liverpool 0.

Brendan Rodgers's return to Swansea City was marked by frustration as Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw, their Premier League record now reading just three wins from 13.

Raheem Sterling struck the crossbar with a thunderous volley in the first half at the Liberty Stadium but it was a familiar tale of wastefulness from a Liverpool side that remains in the bottom half of the table.

Swansea are a point ahead of Liverpool in eighth, Michael Laudrup enjoying a useful result against the man he replaced in the summer, with one of his own acquisitions, Pablo Hernandez, the standout performer.

Returning to the ground where he founded his reputation as an advocate of fluent, passing football, Rodgers unexpectedly chose to recall two players who have suffered from a change of approach at Liverpool in the summer as Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing kept their places following a 2-2 draw against Young Boys in the Europa League in midweek. The latter, linked with a £10m move to Arsenal in January, started in an unfamiliar left-back role, stationed behind reinvented winger Jose Enrique.

The unexpected strategy worked to some degree in a hugely entertaining first half that saw Liverpool enjoy the better of the chances. Sterling was particularly lively on the right, with Enrique also full of intent on the left, and the teenager curled one effort at Gerhard Tremmel early on before testing the keeper with another low effort soon after.

Glen Johnson was also keen to attack from right-back and combine with Sterling. His dangerous delivery on 17 minutes was chested at goal by Enrique and later he combined with the Spaniard to good effect, exchanging passes as he drifted through the heart of the Swansea defence only for Tremmel to make a fine save with his legs to repel Johnson's low shot.

Swansea's pivotal player was record signing Hernandez, with the majority of home attacks channelled through the little Spaniard. Hernandez played in Wayne Routledge for one smart effort and then put two fantastic bending efforts of his own just wide of the post. On both occasions his superior close control took him away from his markers before he opened up his body to shoot.

But though Swansea caused Liverpool no end of problems - Jonathan De Guzman firing wide and Michu having two efforts blocked - it was the visitors who possessed the greater threat. That much was evident when Sterling almost scored one of the goals of the season as he saw a tremendous high-velocity volley strike the bar after a corner was headed into his path.

Enrique was also left furious with the assistant when he converted from a Suarez cross, only to be ruled offside in a marginal decision. Liverpool, as so often this season, were left frustrated in their hunt for a goal, with even the reliable Suarez unable to convert from the couple of chances he enjoyed in the first half.

The tempo dropped at the start of the second half but Suarez was still active, drilling in a low effort that Tremmel kept out with a rather desperate block. Swansea responded when Ben Davies played an intelligent pass in for Hernandez and Michu headed into the hands of Reina from the winger's cross, while Ashley Williams also went close when his firm header from a corner was cleared by Joe Allen.

With chances becoming rare, Rodgers removed Downing and Henderson after ineffectual performances, with Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Cole on in their place. Swansea continued to threaten though, with Michu and Ki both firing off target following clever passes from Davies and Hernandez calling Reina into action with a fine free-kick.

Liverpool could have won the game - Suarez and Sterling failing to exploit a two versus one break and Shelvey thumping a fierce drive into the torso of Tremmel - but they were forced to settle for a point for the seventh time in 13 games.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Pablo Hernandez (Swansea City): The Spaniard was in tremendous form, his expert close control and fine technique making him a constant threat for the home side. Deserved a goal for his unstinting effort.

PLAYER RATINGS

SWANSEA: Tremmel 7, Rangel 6, Williams 7, Chico 6, Davies 7, Britton 6, De Guzman 7, Routledge 6, Michu 6, Hernandez 8, Shechter 5. Subs: Ki 6, Dyer 6, Agustien N/A.

LIVERPOOL: Reina 7, Johnson 7, Skrtel 6, Agger 6, Downing 5, Allen 6, Henderson 5, Sterling 7, Gerrard 6, Enrique 7, Suarez 7. Subs: Cole 6, Shelvey 7.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS