Swans manager Michael Laudrup opted to rest several of his first-team regulars with one eye on next weekend’s Capital One Cup final against Bradford City, but his plan backfired spectacularly as his side conspired to produce one of the most inept displays in Premier League history.
Liverpool missed a host of first-half chances with Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Stewart Downing particularly culpable before they were awarded a 34th-minute penalty when Suarez went down under Kemy Agustien’s challenge.
Gerrard’s spot-kick was unconvincing but had just enough power to beat Michel Vorm.
It seemed inconceivable that the Swans could be as bad in the second half as they had been in the first 45 minutes, but the tone for the rest of the match was set when Liverpool doubled their lead within 20 seconds of the restart – Philippe Coutinho, making his first start for Brendan Rodgers’ side, netting.
In the 50th minute Jose Enrique ended a sweeping Liverpool move by poking the ball into the roof of the net before Suarez netted the home side’s third goal in ten minutes with a delicate finish.
The rest of the game was like a practice match as Swansea continued to give the Liverpool players the freedom to express themselves.
The impressive Daniel Sturridge hit the woodwork but did score a 71st-minute penalty after Wayne Routledge had handled the ball and, to Swansea’s relief, that brought an end to the scoring.
The only negative news for Liverpool came in the closing stages when substitute Fabio Borini had to leave the pitch in agony with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder after landing awkwardly.
Southampton have announced plans for a two-week tour of China as part of their pre-season preparations for the 2018-19 season.