Monk demands focus from busy Swans

Garry Monk hopes that his Swansea players will be refreshed and ready to go again as they continue a punishing fixture schedule against Liverpool.

New Swansea City head coach Garry Monk raises

The Anfield trip is the second of four games in 11 days, as Swansea also face a Europa League last-32 return game away to Napoli next Thursday, followed by hosting Crystal Palace on Sunday week. They drew 0-0 with Napoli in Thursday night's first leg.

Monk has only been in charge since early February, but his team has already played four matches, drawing with Napoli and Stoke, beating Cardiff and suffering an FA Cup loss to Everton.

"We will just stick them in an ice bath for 48 hours and see if that helps them recover," head coach Monk said.

"I've just told them to be professional and recover well. We've got Liverpool, Napoli and then Crystal Palace all within such a short space of time, and it has been pretty much like that for the whole month.

"The players have done so well up to this point, let's not let it slip now.

"It is about really maintaining those standards, not just in playing, but recovery and doing the right things, eating the right foods, and then they will get their rest after that."

Monk readily admits that he relishes proving people wrong, and there will be few outside of Swansea that realistically expect an in-form Liverpool team managed by ex-Swans boss Brendan Rodgers not to take maximum points this weekend.

"The best bit is when people doubt you and doubt that you can get a result," Monk added.

"Outside of Swansea, people probably would have doubted we would have got anything against Napoli. They would have thought a Napoli side coming over here that was strong would have wiped the floor with us.

"We could have done 10 performances like that, and I can guarantee people would still doubt that we would ever get anything at Liverpool.

"You are continuously trying to prove yourself, especially for a club like this, but I have said to the players 'you are top players, really good players, and you deserve to compete at this sort of level on a regular basis'. That is what they have to try and aspire to.

"I never doubt them, and they should never doubt themselves.

"Don't get me wrong, it is an extremely tough thing to do to try and go from here to Liverpool, then to play Napoli and then Crystal Palace. It is extremely hard, but all we can do is do our best.

"You know what it's like. If you win a game, great, but if I go and lose to Liverpool on Sunday, I am going to get it in the ear - 'he's inexperienced'. That's life, what can you do? You just get on with it."

Monk will hope that Swansea's latest trip to Merseyside proves nothing like their last Anfield mission 12 months ago.

On that occasion, Monk's predecessor Michael Laudrup fielded a much-changed team as the game fell only a week before the Capital One Cup final at Wembley - and Liverpool duly thumped them 5-0.

"We got hammered," added Monk, who was Swansea captain that day.

"They tore us apart. We weren't prepared properly, mentally we weren't right. We had a lot of changes with the cup final coming the following week, but that is still no excuse. It hurts bad when you perform like that, and it hurt for a while.

"We were lucky we had the cup final the week after, which we won, and that covered up the cracks in terms of that (Anfield) performance.

"As players, things like that you don't forget very easily. I lost there 7-1 once, when I was 19 years old, and I still don't forget about that now."

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