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Hodgson praises Gerrard display

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson (left) and Reds captain Steven Gerrard
Hodgson (left) had Gerrard to thank for a Reds turnaround

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson paid tribute to Steven Gerrard after his captain's heroics in inspiring the Reds to a 3-1 Europa League win against Napoli.

Gerrard, 30, came on at half-time with his team trailing 1-0 and scored a hat-trick to keep Liverpool top of Group K and on the brink of a last-32 place.

"It was outstanding," said Hodgson of Gerrard's performance.

"His entry on to the field was a catalyst, it galvanised the crowd and the team."

Ezequiel Lavezzi had put Napoli ahead before Gerrard beat Napoli keeper Morgan de Sanctis to a backpass by ex-Reds left-back Andrea Dossena to notch an equaliser.

Gerrard converted a penalty and finished off his hat-trick with a chip to complete the turnaround ahead of a Premier League game at home to Chelsea on Sunday.

"We owe a big debt of gratitude to him but he will be the first to join me in saying the whole team in the second half gave a good performance," added Hodgson.

"I thought tonight was a real leader's performance - the first goal was not a pretty goal.

"That was a captain's goal, the goal of a guy who wanted to get his team back in the game even at the risk of injury. That is certainly appreciated by me and my staff."

Gerrard played down his impact on the game as he also cited the part played by his team-mates.

"We went a goal down and the manager asked me to come on and see if I could help get the lads back in it," the Liverpool captain commented.

"Everyone played their part. I'm sure I'll get the headlines but it certainly wasn't just about me. Every one of the lads in the second half was just fantastic.


"For the first goal when you're put in that position against a giant of a goalkeeper you've just got to go in and hope for the best.

"There was no class involved, just determination and desire and I don't think the keeper fancied it."

Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri was not happy with French referee Fredy Fautrel but also blamed his players for the manner in which they gave away their goals.

"It became increasingly clear in the second half that the referee was happy to whistle for fouls for them and was giving very little to us - this changed the course of the game," Mazzarri stated.

"But we can't just blame the referee, we were also very naive due to our lack of experience.

"The first goal was almost like an own goal the way we gave it away and that changed the atmosphere in the stadium. We conceded silly goals."

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see also
Liverpool 3-1 Napoli
04 Nov 10 |  Europe
Alan Hansen's column
04 Nov 10 |  Premier League
Europa League photos
04 Nov 10 |  Football

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