Brendan Rodgers full of praise for Reds
Brendan Rodgers said his Liverpool players deserved “immense credit” for ending their Stoke jinx and finally winning at the Britannia Stadium.
• Jolly: A Sterling effort
The Reds’ 5-3 victory was their first triumph in the league at the Potters since 1984 and came after their previous five trips had only produced two points.
A Ryan Shawcross own goal, along with a brace from Luis Suarez and strikes from Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge took Liverpool back into the top four.
And Rodgers believes his side made a statement by inflicting only Stoke’s second home defeat of the season.
“It was a brilliant win, Liverpool had never won here in the Premier League and we all know why, it's a notoriously difficult place to play, but I want to give immense credit to the players,” he said.
Sturridge, who has recovered from an ankle injury, came off the bench to make his first appearance since November.
And Rodgers was delighted to reunite him with Premier League top scorer Suarez.
He added: “Both of them combined very well, they're both outstanding talents and you could see from their link-up and Luis’ [second] goal, where he [Sturridge] slid it around the corner to him and Luis finished it really well. And then Dan's movement for Luis to play him in was exceptional. To get the fifth goal, away here, really shows that threat that we have.”
Rodgers believes opposing defenders face a tough task in stopping Suarez, who has now scored 22 league goals this season.
He said: “He has shown in his time at Liverpool in the last year or so that he is near unplayable. He on his own can occupy a back four with his movement and his cleverness.”
Rodgers sympathised with Stoke manager Mark Hughes, who described the awarding of the penalty Gerrard scored for Liverpool’s third goal as “soft.”
Raheem Sterling went to ground as Marc Wilson challenged, and Rodgers added: “I would call that a Spanish penalty, which means that if you get it you are happy. Raheem is obviously running at such a speed that that slight contact knocks him over. Probably he'll [Hughes] feel [it is] very harsh, we're happy to take it and get it.”