Hodgson praises ‘outstanding’ Gerrard

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard celebrates after scoring his third goal during their Europa League soccer match against Napoli at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, November 4, 2010. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

“It was outstanding,” said boss Roy Hodgson of Steven Gerrard’s performance in Liverpool’s 3-1 Europa League victory over Napoli tonight.

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Gerrard came on at half-time to bad a second half hat-trick and sink the Italians, who were leading 1-0 thanks to Ezequiel Lavezzi opening goal on 28 minutes.

Hodgson told press after the game, “His [Gerrard’s] entry on to the field was a catalyst, it galvanised the crowd and the team.

“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.

“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, meanwhile, was modest about his performance.

He said, “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.

“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.”