BRENDAN RODGERS didn’t need to be among familiar surrounds to know he had seen it all before.
On his first return since departing the Liberty Stadium in the summer, the Northern Irishman witnessed his hopes for a happy ‘homecoming’ undermined by recurring problems.
Once again, an inability to convert domination into tangible reward proved frustrating as Liverpool eked out a goalless draw against Rodgers’ former charges Swansea City.
No catastrophe, it was no great encouragement either as Rodgers’ attempts to progress his new team were hampered by his own legacy, forged by two successful years in South Wales.
Such is the way at present, as the Anfield outfit continue to edge tentatively rather than stroll purposefully forward.
While this result – the very least they deserved – extends Liverpool’s Premier League unbeaten to eight matches, they are still yet to trouble the top half of the table.
Five of those games have been draws, highlighting not just a steely resolve but also a failure to be ruthless when facing inferior opposition.
The latter applied yesterday, with Rodgers’ men dominating possession – particularly in the first half – and creating the better chances without applying the finishing touch.
Swansea captain Ashley Williams had caused ripples before the game by declaring he wanted to “knock out” Luis Suarez, such was his dislike of the Uruguayan.
Williams content himself with helping keep Suarez in check, the striker thwarted in his attempt to become only the third Liverpool player to score in five successive away games.
Of course, the question with Rodgers has had to grapple this season is if Suarez doesn’t score, who does?
The answer yesterday was nobody. But it wasn’t for the want of trying, as Raheem Sterling was denied by the crossbar, Glen Johnson by a good save and Jose Enrique by an offside flag.
If Rodgers was afforded a mixed reception by the Swansea supporters, the same could be said of the reaction to his team selection, a paucity of options symbolised by the defensive reshuffle prompted by Andre Wisdom having failed to recover from a knee problem suffered in Thursday’s damaging Europa League draw against Young Boys.
Stewart Downing, a regular feature in cup competitions, retained his place at left-back with a first Premier League start the opening-day defeat at West Bromwich Albion, while Jordan Henderson’s form was rewarded with a first top-flight start since Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at Swansea on the final game of last season.