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Thursday 23 October 2014

Rodgers: I expected us to win game

LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers felt the below-strength side he selected should have done enough to beat Young Boys last night and admits they now face a tougher task away to Udinese.

The Reds conceded an 88th-minute equaliser to Elsad Zverotic, having led twice through Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Cole either side of Raul Bobadilla's brilliant equaliser in the 2-2 draw.

Victory would have put them through to the knockout stages but they now have to go to Italy in a fortnight and avoid defeat while matching Young Boys' result against Anzhi.

Despite starting with Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez on the bench Rodgers did not think that contributed to the result. "It was mapping out. We had four games in 10 days and I was trying to make sure our number one priority was we were as fresh as we could be," said the Northern Irishman.

"I don't think it was anything to do with the strength of the team.

"The players that played and started the game had done very well.

"Jonjo, in that false nine role, did very well - he was causing them problems floating between the lines and we scored one and could have had three because of his movement.

"The team was functioning well and it was just the goals (conceded) which were disappointing.

"I would expect us to see that through."

On a bright note, maligned midfielder Cole had one of his better performances, providing the assist for Shelvey's goal and then latching on to a Steven Gerrard pass to grab his first goal for the club since April 2011.

"Joe Cole gave everything. It was a terrific pass to Suso early in the game to set up the first goal and he gets his finish for the second. There was a number of positives," added Rodgers.

"I think he is still not 100 per cent but he came in and was much better in his offensive part of his game.

"He was clever and bright in between people and that is the nature of those guys at the top end of the field -- they have to create goals and score goals."

The task of making the last 32 has now been made much harder but Rodgers insists they will take it in their stride.

"It's simple enough, we've got to get a good result and match the result of Young Boys," he said.

"Ideally we'd have qualified last night but we haven't so it has to go to the last game and we have to control our affairs then."

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