As he pressed the flesh of pretty much everyone in sight at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, there was a sense that Brendan Rodgers was a little more bothered about his return to Swansea City than his old club were.
Already faced with the embarrassment of seeing his Liverpool side lower in the table than the club he left for the Reds in the summer, Rodgers seemed determined to greet old friends with a fixed smile on his face, hugely laudable behaviour of course but perhaps also that of a man who was desperate to show that he had left for greener pastures in the summer whatever the league table says.
Ultimately Rodgers’ Liverpool were the better side in South Wales, particularly in the first half, and if anyone was going to claim the three points then it probably deserved to be them, but once again Swansea showed just what a valuable addition to the Premier League they have been since their promotion under Rodgers 18 months ago.
Luis Suarez still had his moments but ultimately he was shackled by Chico Flores and Ashley Williams – perhaps the Uruguayan’s unofficial biographer – in a more impressive manner than anyone has managed in the past six weeks, and if it makes a change to start off discussing a Swansea performance by focusing on their defence then maybe that will soon change if the centre-back pairing and full-backs Angel Rangel and Ben Davies continue in the manner that they have been.
That the focus so often shifts further forward is down to Swansea’s vibrant attackers and their protection of the ball of course, with Michu and Pablo Hernandez looking lively and Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer troubling Pepe Reina with a fine shot and a boot to the face respectively.
That was a rare ugly moment in a match that the purist would have loved had there been any goals, and one which again showcased Swansea’s commitment to possession.
In this day and age of endless tactics-based debate it is quite uncommon to find a club who are solely committed to playing a certain way regardless of who the manager is.
There is nothing revolutionary about the way that Swansea have gone about their game in recent years – although at times Rodgers would have you believe there is – but instead their approach symbolises a club who are comfortable with their pleasing image and want to stick to it.
Football pub bores will go to great lengths to tell you that it was of course Roberto Martinez who started off this Swansea culture of possession being nine tenths of the football law, which would be quite interesting if everyone didn’t know that already.
Under chairman Huw Jenkins, the Swans have protected this philosophy through the promise of Martinez, the wobbles of Paulo Sousa, the results of Rodgers and now the current regime of Michael Laudrup, perhaps the most laid back manager in the Premier League and certainly the one who can boast the best playing career.
Whilst that alone doesn’t guarantee success in the top job of course, a healthy eye for a good player certainly does, and Laudrup has demonstrated that in abundance during his brief tenure with the signings of the likes of Michu, Hernandez, Ki Sung-Yeung and Jonathan de Guzman.
Stationed in the top half of the table ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with the still upwardly mobile West Brom, Swansea appear to be perfectly placed to continue with the rapid progress they’ve made during their time in the top flight.
They’ll have their tough times of course – not least with trips to Arsenal and Tottenham and a home game against Manchester United before Christmas – but Swansea certainly don’t look like becoming involved in a relegation battle at any point this season, something that they were tipped to do under Rodgers and even under Laudrup by some.
The current Liverpool boss will have his own moments in his still new job, but the side he left behind will go on enjoying themselves for some time yet.
Swansea are doing much more than just passing through the Premier League.