Friday 21 September 2012
Manager Brendan Rodgers praised debutants Andre Wisdom and Suso for "seizing their chance" as Liverpool completed a 5-3 UEFA Europa League victory against Young Boys in Berne.
Jonjo Shelvey came off the bench to score twice as Liverpool shared eight goals with the Swiss Super-League side but it was the display of academy graduates Wisdom, the defender who marked his first senior appearance with a headed goal, and central midfielder Suso that most stood out for Rodgers, whose side came back from 3-2 down to seal victory in Switzerland.
"It was a chance for the young players to seize that opportunity to play and they did that. It is a night of great pride for the club and certainly me as a manager"
"It was a wonderful header from Andre and a great moment for him in his first game for Liverpool and especially with it being in Europe," said Rodgers, who also handed debuts to the recent signing Oussama Assaidi.
"Andre has played a lot at centre-half in his career so far but I think he's got all the qualities to be a top Premier League right-back. I loved Suso's arrogance on the ball too."
Wisdom headed in five minutes before the interval after Raphael Nuzzolo had cancelled out a fourth-minute own goal by Juhani Ojala. However, Ajala made amends early in the second half before Gonzalo Zarate chipped the hosts into the lead. But Sebastian Coates equalised four minutes later before substitute Shelvey scored twice.
"We could have defended better and there is no question the three goals we gave away were disappointing but the young players were so courageous and brave to play and show that confidence," added Rodgers. "My senior players were very much together and kept the young guys going.
"All round it was very pleasing. It was a chance for the young players to seize that opportunity to play and they did that. It is a night of great pride for the club and certainly me as a manager. To play like we did and get the goals we did was quite fantastic."
If it was raining goals in Berne the same could not be said in the two other European ties involving Barclays Premier League clubs as both Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United shared goalless draws with Lazio and Maritimo respectively.
"You could see after the match they had a little party, while we were very disappointed"
Tottenham did put the ball in the net three times at White Hart Lane, but Clint Dempsey, on his Spurs debut, and Jermain Defoe both had goals ruled out for offside, while Steven Caulker's header was disallowed for a foul. At the other end Alvaro Gonzalez struck the bar with a dipping volley from the edge of the penalty area.
"We wanted to win today and Lazio are a good team, but we were better," said Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen. "We were at home, we were going for the three points and it is a shame we didn't do it. They are a good team and it is good to keep a clean sheet.
"They were here for a draw and were happy with one point. You could see after the match they had a little party, while we were very disappointed."
Newcastle were also denied by the woodwork as they were frustrated by Portuguese outfit Maritimo, Shola Ameobi seeing a header pushed on to the post by Romain Salin and an even better curling effort, following a solo run, rebound off the bar.
It was not all one-way traffic, however, and the Magpies were indebted to goalkeeper Rob Elliot who, on just his second game for the club, pulled off to fine saves early on.
"He was outstanding, as well as the back four on a really difficult surface against difficult opponents," said Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. "A draw was a great result."