Rodgers buoyed by Liverpool youngsters despite Stoke draw

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was keen to highlight the “big plus” of the performances of his younger players during Sunday’s frustrating 0-0 draw with Stoke City.

The Reds failed to post their first Premier League home victory of the season as a resolute Potters backline held firm in the face of a second-half onslaught.

But, despite admitting disappointment at the result, the Northern Irishman insisted the manner of his side’s showing was encouraging.

“We’re obviously disappointed we didn’t win the game, I thought the attitude and the application of the players was terrific,” he told reporters.

“We stood up to the real physicality of the game, which was a big plus. If you can play against Stoke physically, especially with so many young players in the team and so many technicians, then you know you’re going to be alright in your other games.

“I thought as the game wore on we got into good spaces and areas of the field but just that final touch or final decision at the end of it didn’t quite allow us to score.

“So we’re disappointed not to win but as I said there were a lot of real positives from the game and our first clean sheet of the season which is important.”

Despite denying having seen incidents in which Luis Suarez was seemingly stamped on by Robert Huth and later appeared to dive in the box, the 39-year-old hit out at the media’s treatment of the striker.

“I think whatever Luis does, there’ll always be a problem,” he opined. “Whether it’s media or referees. I thought he was terrific today some of combinations and movement. It [diving] gets brought up every week.”

The former Swansea boss also refused to be drawn into criticising the opposition’s physical approach, which saw them receive six yellow cards.

“It was a physical game today but no complaints from us. I thought we stood up to it very well,” he continued.

“I thought the referee maybe at times didn’t see it that way and maybe didn’t give some decisions that he should have done but the bottom line is it was a terrific performance. It’s brilliant to see the young players cope in that type of environment and it really bodes well for us.”

Rodgers went on to hail the club’s fans for their continued support in the face of a poor run at Anfield over the last calendar year.

“A big appreciation to supporters,” he added. “This is a club which I believe has won only two Premier League games at Anfield in this calendar year and it’s been nearly a year since the club won consecutive Premier League games.

“So to still get the support and the backing of the supporters with that type of record, there are not many clubs would give that.

“They were right with the team right to the very end and I was very proud of the team and the supporters today.”

The Liverpool boss also insisted he has no regrets over loaning out Andy Carroll to West Ham, despite possessing a paucity of alternative attacking options on the bench.

“That’s gone and there’s nothing we can do with that. It was a difficult period in the summer but the window is shut, we have what we have,” he stated.

“I’m not one really that goes down the desperation route if I’m being totally honest. In my career I’ve won a number of games against big teams by continuing to play and waiting for those moments at the end of the game.

“I don’t really do desperation where it becomes a war in the last 10 minutes of the game by kicking it longer. For me we work with what we’ve got, we work to find different ways to score and then when January comes we see if we can revisit that.”

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