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 By Mike Whalley

Brendan Rodgers reveals Monk advice

Swansea interim manager Garry Monk will attempt to stall Liverpool's Champions League push on Sunday -- having been encouraged to go into coaching by Brendan Rodgers.

Garry Monk
Garry Monk played under Brendan Rodgers during the Liverpool boss' time at Swansea.

Kelly: Sympathy for the Swans
• Rodgers coy over Konoplyanka

Monk called the Reds boss for advice after stepping up from the playing ranks to replace the sacked Michael Laudrup at the Liberty Stadium on Feb. 4.

The 34-year-old was Swansea's captain during Rodgers' two-year spell as manager of the club, between 2010 and 2012.

Monk will be in the away dugout when Liverpool host the Swans in the Premier League this weekend, with the backing of Rodgers to succeed in management.

"At the time, when I was there at Swansea, he was a magnificent captain for me," Rodgers said. "And in a lot of our conversations, which were very open, I said to him that he should start thinking about his coaching two to three years before finishing as a player.

"He's a bright lad, Garry. He's very honest and very loyal as a captain. But he was one I could see having a future in coaching and management if he wanted to go down that route.

"It's probably come unexpectedly for him, especially going straight into the Premier League. But he's very calm and enjoying it at the moment. And the players have responded to him.

"He'll have gained respect because of his status there as a player, and he'll be looking to make a similar impact over time as a coach and manager.

"I think he's done brilliantly. He looks as if he's galvanised the group. He's a great learner, and always has been. Over the course of these coming months, he'll get better."

Swansea's trip to Anfield comes three days after a 0-0 draw against Napoli in the home leg of their Europe League last-32 clash, with the return game in Naples next Thursday.

Liverpool have not had to worry about juggling the demands of domestic and European football this season, which has relieved a little of the pressure on Rodgers' injury-hit squad.

But a major concern for the Reds boss remains the fitness of left-back Jose Enrique, who has still not recovered from a knee injury.

Enrique had surgery to sort out the problem in November, and had been expected to return to action earlier this month. However, he is not yet ready to resume training, and does not have a comeback date.

Rodgers has sent the 28-year-old to the United States to see a specialist in the hope of resolving the problem.

"Jose Enrique's been out in America, where we're going to put an end to his injuries this season," Rodgers explained. "We've sent him there to get some specialist advice on that, but he's nowhere near playing as of yet."

Right-back Glen Johnson, though, is ready to return after a month out with ankle and groin problems.

And midfielder Lucas Leiva is close to returning from medial knee ligament damage sustained during the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on Jan. 22, although he will not be involved against Swansea.

Centre-back Mamadou Sakho, who has been out since late December with a hamstring problem, is back in light training.

Rodgers added: "Glen's been back training, and according to him, he's felt as good as he has for a long time, which is great. He's looked very good in training, so he'll come into the squad.

"Sakho is still probably a week or so away, but he's back on the field with the rehabilitation team and working well."

Meanwhile, Liverpool's 18-year-old winger Jordon Ibe has joined Championship side Birmingham on loan for the rest of the season.

And Granada are considering a permanent move for Tiago Ilori after the Portuguese defender's impressive start to life in the Primera Division.

Ilori, 20, joined the Andalusian club in January until the end of the season and, despite making just two appearances, has impressed enough to leave sporting director Juan Carlos Cordero pondering a future transfer.

"For the experience he has he is calm, he has pace, moves the ball well. He has come in and fitted into the team very quickly,'' said Cordero. "When the end of the summer comes we'll see if he is wanted by the Liverpool first team or if they want to sell or loan him.

"This is something that does not need to worry us now, it will come in due course as he continues to grow.''

Liverpool signed the player for around seven million pounds last summer with one eye on the future.


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