My debt to super sub Steven Gerrard - Liverpool FC boss Roy Hodgson

05 November 2010 03:00
LIVERPOOL manager Roy Hodgson admitted he owed a 'debt of gratitude' to Steven Gerrard after his captain's match-winning hat-trick secured a 3-1 Europa League win over Napoli at Anfield.

The Reds were trailing to Ezequiel Lavezzi's 28th-minute goal in a first half devoid of any real quality on their part.

However, the arrival of Gerrard after the interval completely turned things around and after a couple of near-misses the England midfielder clicked into gear.

He latched onto a gift from former Liverpool defender Andrea Dossena, whose interception diverted the ball towards goalkeeper Morgan de Sanctis but not with enough pace to prevent the 30-year-old reaching it first.

Gerrard then converted a penalty two minutes from time after Glen Johnson was fouled by Salvatore Aronica and he completed his treble with a delicate dink over De Sanctis.

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

'In the first half we hadn't played that badly and were unlucky to be a goal down to an error which was punished.

'His entry onto the field was a catalyst, it galvanised the crowd and the team and the way he scored the first goal epitomised the energy and the spirit the team showed in the second half.

'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.

Source: Liverpool_Echo