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Page last updated at 22:48 GMT, Thursday, 16 September 2010 23:48 UK

Win vindicates team selection, says Roy Hodgson

Top row from left: Christian Poulsen, Danny Wilson, Fernando torres, Martin Skrtel and Steven Gerrard were rested for the win over Steaua
Gerrard (third from right) and Torres (third from left) sit out the Steaua win

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson believes his side's 4-1 win over Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League justified his decision to field a weakened side.

Hodgson left out Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres as well as resting other key players ahead of Sunday's league game at Manchester United.

"I had no doubt, given we have so many internationals, this was the moment to give them a rest," said Hodgson.

"It is to allow them to prepare properly for Sunday's game."

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson made 10 changes as his side drew their Champions League match at home to Rangers on Tuesday.

606: DEBATE

United were held to a goalless draw, whereas Liverpool earned an impressive win over their Romanian opponents at Anfield.

Joe Cole put the Reds ahead and, while Cristian Tanase equalised for Steaua, Lucas Leiva powered in a long-range strike sandwiched in between two David Ngog goals to wrap up a win for the Merseysiders.

"The ones who came in did a good job and got a good result and, in my opinion, the decision would have been just as valid even if we had not got a good result," added Hodgson.

"They made us work hard to contain them but even in that period Joe showed some good touches.

"I thought Ngog's confidence grew after the penalty but I don't think he looked that confident in the first half.

"But certainly his confidence grew the longer the game went and we had so much possession in the second half that for forwards it is good when you have that much dominance in the midfield.

"It was nice for Joe to get his first goal for the club, I thought he was lively.

"We substituted Lucas because we wanted to make certain we shored up the midfield and to give Ryan Babel a rest - the decision was made for defensive rather than offensive reasons, it is just a coincidence Lucas scored a great goal."

Steaua coach Ilie Dumitrescu was unconcerned by Hodgson's team selection but believes the scoreline was harsh on his side.

"You have Maxi Rodriguez, David Ngog, Ryan Babel, Joe Cole - they are quality players and it is a very strong squad and they look organised," he said.

"I was very sad for the result because this is not the real picture of what happened on the field."



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see also
Liverpool 4-1 Steaua Bucharest
16 Sep 10 |  Europe
Ferguson expects Man Utd gripes
14 Sep 10 |  Man Utd
Thursday's football as it happened
16 Sep 10 |  Europe


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