Brendan Rodgers Proud of Liverpool’s Performance Against Everton, Says ‘Easy Decision’ Cost Reds Victory

Brendan Rodgers Proud of Liverpool's Performance Against Everton, Says 'Easy Decision' Cost Reds VictoryBrendan Rodgers expressed his pride in the youthful Liverpool side which was cruelly denied a memorable victory over neighbor Everton on a turbulent afternoon at Goodison Park.

The Reds raced into a two-goal lead at the home of the Blues but were pegged back before the interval and in the 94th minute were deprived of a perfectly good winner when Luis Suarez smashed home a Sebastian Coates knock-down.

And while Rodgers could not hide his frustration at the last-gasp decision, he remained buoyed by his side’s battling performance.

“Obviously I’m bitterly disappointed [with the last minute disallowed goal] because it was a brilliant game and I thought we stepped up well in the second half,” he told his post-match news conference.

“I was so disappointed that it didn’t count because for me it was an easy decision. The ball has come from deep and it is in the air for quite a long time. The official is just looking along the line and Coates is clearly onside when he heads it.

“It’s a wonderful finish [from Suarez] and he should have had his second goal of the game.

“It would have been a well-deserved and brilliant win for us. Instead, we are frustrated but at the same time I am very proud. I look at my team here today in a real cauldron of an atmosphere and how they stood up to everything against a very, very experienced team.

Raheem Sterling is 17 years old, Suso is 18, Andre Wisdom 19, Jonjo Shelvey 20, while Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson are 22. They are all young players who will only grow and get better and better.

“So it was another terrific stride forward for us. We haven’t had confirmation yet [as to why the goal was ruled out] and I will certainly ask the question. But it’s gone now, so I’m not going to dwell on it.”

At the interval, Rodgers withdrew Nuri Sahin and Suso and replaced them with Coates and Shelvey.

The changes saw the Reds shift their formation to three at the back while Sterling moved into the more central role, playing in behind Suarez.

And the manager revealed how he made the switch in order to add more aerial prowess to his back line, in the form of Coates, rather than to subdue Kevin Mirallas, who had posed a real threat to the Reds throughout the first half.

“I did it to deal with two tall strikers [Nikica Jelavic and Marouane Fellaini],” explained Rodgers. “Everton just smashed the ball up to them so it was as simple as that.

“They played direct, so I felt we needed that extra body and Seb could come and play central to pull our two center backs closer together. It also allowed us to be offensively set up to go and play as well.

“We knew there was going to be a wee bit of room on the side of the midfield but my concern was that whenever they had the ball, it was constantly thumped into the box, so we organized the game to make them play deeper.

“I thought we played well in the early stages and we broke through their pressure to get a terrific goal. [For the goal] we moved the ball from side to side and then got in. I thought it was a foul on Raheem as he was arriving but Luis has picked the ball up at the back post and got the goal.”

Suarez was issued with a yellow card for a foul on Sylvain Distin in the second half and Rodgers felt that anything more severe than a caution would have been unfair.

“I didn’t think it was a red,” he added. “Sometimes you get that with strikers, where they are just a fraction too late.”

Asked what he made of the Uruguayan’s diving celebration following the opening goal of the game, Rodgers replied: “It was Scouse wit.”