SWANSEA, Wales, November 24 – Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen claims his former Swansea team-mate Ashley Williams has scored an own goal by criticising controversial striker Luis Suarez ahead of Sunday’s clash at the Liberty Stadium.
In his new autobiography, defender Williams said he wanted to “knock out” Suarez during last season’s game at Anfield and accused the Uruguay international of diving, comments which could yet see the player face disciplinary action from the Football Association.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who left Swansea to take charge at Anfield in the close-season, is confident there will be no animosity between the pair when the teams meet in south Wales after acting as mediator to diffuse any potential difficulties.
But Allen believes Williams’ comments, published in “My Premier League Diary”, will give Suarez extra motivation to add to his tally of 13 goals for Liverpool this season.
“These sort of things happen in football and the battle between Luis and Ash will be one to watch on the weekend,” said Allen, who followed Rodgers out of Swansea to Liverpool.
“It will give Luis some extra motivation, which is dangerous from Swansea’s point of view.”
Rodgers, who steered Swansea to the Premier League in 2011, has spoken to Williams, who in turn has talked to Suarez, in an attempt to prevent the situation escalating ahead of the match.
“When I saw those comments I spoke to him and got the full explanation of how it has seemingly got out there and he was very quick to want to apologise for that,” Rodgers said.
“That is done. There is no problem there and I am sure they will shake hands on Sunday and get on with it.”
Rodgers, who suffered a 3-1 League Cup loss against Swansea last month, is determined to sentence his former club to defeat and extend Liverpool’s unbeaten league run to eight matches.
“It’s certainly a fixture I am looking forward to,” he said. “It’s a beautiful part of the world, a brilliant club and I had two memorable years there.
“It was a wonderful experience and I have great memories from there, both professionally and personally.
“I’m really looking forward to going back and seeing many friends there, but ultimately looking to get the result. That’s what we’ll be there for.”
Swansea, now managed by former Barcelona and Real Madrid forward Michael Laudrup, head into the match on the back of an impressive 2-1 away win at Newcastle.
But although Laudrup is aware of the danger posed by Suarez, he said it would be wrong for his players to concentrate solely on stopping the forward.
“It is not about one man. We all agree he is a player to watch because he has scored 70 or 80 percent of their goals,” Laudrup said.
“But it’s only part of it. You have to look at the people who make the passes and stopping the service.
“He will get chances and he will create some things but the only thing we can do is watch him very carefully and try not to let him out of our sights.
“He is a clever player, you only have to see his recent equaliser at Chelsea to see that which was very smart.
“He is a goalscorer who has the instinct about where the ball is going to go but we know about him.”
Laudrup said Rodgers will be remembered as one of Swansea’s great managers and hopes he gets a good reception on Sunday.
“I can only see from the outside but to take a team into the Premier League is a great achievement,” said Laudrup.
“I know there is something special when you play against former managers or players, but for me it’s Swansea against Liverpool, not Swansea against Brendan Rodgers or Joe Allen or whoever.”