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Saturday 29 September 2012

Matchweek 6 reaction: Rodgers hails Suarez 'masterclass'

All the information, photos and stats on Matchweek 6's Saturday 3pm kick-offs

  • Manchester City's Sergio Aguero makes it 1-1 against Fulham

  • Luis Suarez scores his second Liverpool goal against Norwich

  • Peter Crouch headed Stoke in front against Swansea

  • Leon Osman equalises for Everton, who went on to beat Southampton

  • Demba Ba scores his and Newcastle's second equaliser against Reading

Brendan Rodgers hailed a "finishing masterclass" from Luis Suarez after the forward scored his second hat-trick at Norwich City in five months to hand the Liverpool manager his first Barclays Premier League win in charge at Anfield.

Suarez scored a memorable treble at Carrow Road last season and he repeated the feat today as he almost single-handedly tore Norwich apart in a 5-2 win for the Merseysiders.

"It was a special day for him and the team"
Brendan Rodgers

"His goals here were incredible last year and this was another masterclass in finishing," Rodgers said. "His first goal was terrific. The second one typifies him because he missed his easiest chance he had, but he didn't get disappointed, won back the ball, nutmegged the defender with an incredible piece of skill and then to finish the way he did was brilliant.

"It was a special day for him and the team."

The victory was Rodgers' first in the Premier League at the sixth attempt. Norwich, on the other hand, are still searching for their first success under Chris Hughton, who was unhappy with his defence.

"You cannot afford to give them the opportunities we gave them today and that is disappointing," he said. "We will make no excuses for today or for the points we have got so far this season.

"We are all still annoyed, disappointed and angry with the goals that we conceded because it doesn't matter who you are playing if you give the opposition those sorts of opportunities there's every chance you could.”

Mancini relieved at late victory

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was relieved to leave West London with three points after his side edged past Fulham. The reigning Barclays Premier League champions picked up a 2-1 victory by the Thames thanks to substitute Edin Dzeko's goal three minutes from time.

The Bosnia international's goal followed Sergio Aguero's effort late in the first half, which levelled things up at Craven Cottage after Mladen Petric's penalty had given the hosts a 10th-minute lead.

"Against Fulham here it is always difficult," the City manager said. "They are a good team, have good players, a good manager.

"We were 1-0 down and Fulham didn't shoot on goal for the first 20 minutes. That was a problem but I am happy because the players continued to play well, kept calm and we had a lot of chances."

"Against Fulham here it is always difficult"
Roberto Mancini

Martin Jol was philosophical after the defeat. "You can't complain because they are a world-class team," the Fulham manager said. "If it's still 1-1 after 87 minutes, then you still have a slight hope that could do something on the break or defend against them.

"We did defending but the frustrating thing was that although they dominated possession, especially in the second half, the goals were pretty scrappy."

Moyes dreaming of top four

Everton manager David Moyes admits that while he is keen for people to not get carried away after his side’s best start in eight years, he is holding out hope of securing "a dream spot" in the top four of the Barclays Premier League.

A 3-1 victory over Southampton put Everton within three points of leaders Chelsea, equalling their best points haul of 13 from six Barclays Premier League matches from the 2004-05 season - when they went on to qualify for the Champions League for the first and only time.

"There was a bit of a hangover from the result in midweek"
David Moyes

"I'd like to be in there, in the mix, during the season but I don't think Manchester United and Manchester City will be worried to see Everton there at this time of the year. They might be worried if in April time we slip to the top of the league.

Moyes was pleased with the way his side responded after going behind early on, especially after their midweek Capital One Cup exit at Leeds United.

"We played ever so well at times in the first half but it took us 15 minutes to get going as I felt there was a bit of a hangover from the result in midweek," he said. "But they deserve great credit for going about their job and how well they played.

"It was nearly action every minute: it was great theatre for 30 minutes before half-time and we maybe could have scored more.”

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins rued missed chances that would have turned the match in their favour.

"We started the game very well and for the first 20 to 25 minutes we have taken the game to Everton," he said. "We scored a good goal from a corner and if Jay Rodriguez had gone in and scored [when clean through] to make it 2-0 it might have been a different final reflection.

"Second half we came out with good composure to pass the football and if Gaston Ramirez's little chip had just gone inside the post rather than outside it could have been an interesting final period."

O'Neill: Red card sparked us to victory

Martin O’Neill conceded it took the sending-off of Wigan Athletic’s Jordi Gomez to spark his Sunderland team towards a 1-0 victory, the club’s first League win of the season.

Gomez was sent off two minutes into the second half for a foul on Danny Rose and Sunderland went on to score the only goal through Steven Fletcher soon afterwards.

"I have to thank Mignolet for making two incredibly good saves"
Martin O'Neill

"We scored soon after that and it gave us some impetus, a lot of impetus, in fact," O’Neill said, who gave praise for his summer signing Fletcher as well as Simon Mignolet, after the Sunderland goalkeeper made some crucial saves during the first half.

"He was brilliant today for us,” O’Neill said of Fletcher. “Wigan came and played their part, and I have to thank Mignolet for making two incredibly good saves for us to keep it at 0-0.

"Fletcher has come up big again for us, so eventually we have won the game, although it was edgy towards the end. But the win was vitally important for us and it keeps us going."

Robert Martinez was disappointed with the result, especially after dominating the opening half.

“We started with a real confident look about us and to come here with the confidence that we had in the first half really speaks volumes,” the Wigan manager said. “We created some very good chances in the first half but the three clear ones we created we need to be taking.

“In terms of the majority of the game we played really well and kept Sunderland from proving a threat and they only really had one shot on goal and that’s the one they scored from.”

McDermott remains positive despite draw

Reading manager looked to see the positives after his Reading side were denied a first League victory of the season by Demba Ba, who equalised twice after Reading had led through Jimmy Kebe then Noel Hunt

"We played on the front foot, with tempo and identity. With 33 games to play that is how we have to perform in this league," McDermott said. "It was much better. We felt at West Brom we were hoping to get a result. Today we took the initiative and we thought we were going to win."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew worked with McDermott in his time at Reading and was honest in his appraisal of Newcastle's performance.

"That is how we have to perform in this league"
Brian McDermott

"The performance level from us was down,” he said. “We can't keep relying on our spirit and a bit of quality to get us these points.

"We have got to find a way of getting rhythm in our play but Reading did a good job of upsetting that today. They didn't give us a moment's peace. They were all over us. Some good teams will get beaten here and we were fortunate we weren't one of them."

Pulis hails 'unplayable' Crouch

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis felt Peter Crouch was "unplayable" at times as he got both goals in his team’s 2-0 over Swansea City, but refused to back the striker for an England recall.

Crouch scored both the Potters' goals at the Britannia Stadium to earn the Staffordshire team their first Premier League win of the campaign.

"In the first half we were very good,” Pulis said. "The worst thing that happened was half-time - we came out very slow and sloppy in the second half and Swansea controlled the play.

"But we got back into it in the last 20 minutes and I'm just disappointed Crouchy didn't get his hat-trick."

Pulis said he would not put pressure on England manager Roy Hodgson to recall Crouch.

"It has to be up to him,” Pulis said. “I don't think Peter can do any more than score goals and play well, and you have seen him today - in the first half he was unplayable."

"I'm just disappointed Crouchy didn't get his hat-trick"
Tony Pulis

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup sought to look beyond the match and hope that his team’s home record would end a run of three consecutive home defeats.

“Our next two games are home games and we all know how important the points are for us at home and we need them,” said Laudrup.

“We have played six games and the seven points we have is acceptable, but we know getting into the second round of six games we need at least the same return of points. We have to start well with two home games.”

Our Matchday Live gives you how each match unfolded, along with the latest photos and essential statistics. Click on the links top right for more information as well as previews of the weekend's other matches.

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Key Points

  • Luis Suarez hits hat-trick to secure Liverpool's first league victory of the season
  • Edin Dzeko strikes late as Man City come from behind to beat Fulham
  • Everton's good run goes on as they beat Southampton 3-1