• Premier League

Rodgers: Coutinho has great, great quality

ESPN staff
March 31, 2013
Brendan Rodgers enjoyed Jordan Henderson's equaliser for Liverpool against Aston Villa, created by Philippe Coutinho © PA Photos

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was delighted with the spirit his side demonstrated as they came from a goal down to beat Aston Villa 2-1, and he praised the contribution of young talent Philippe Coutinho.

The Reds went behind to Christian Benteke's first-half finish but strikes from Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard after the interval secured all three points at Villa Park.

"Our character was outstanding today,'' Rodgers told Sky Sports. "We created chances in the first half, in the second half we upped the tempo.

"It was a real tough game for us. Our quality was there as well, and the rhythm and flow of our passing was good.''

Coutinho produced a particularly influential display for Rodgers' side, with the Northern Irishman full of praise for his midfielder after a defence-splitting pass set up Liverpool's equaliser.

"It was a wonderful pass, and Jordan's had a touch and his finish was fantastic because he's got a wee bit of time to think about it,'' he said. "I'm really pleased for him and young Philippe has got great, great quality.''

Liverpool captain Gerrard felt the visitors did not deserve to be trailing at the break and was glad they were rewarded in the second half.

"We felt hard-done-by to be trailing at half-time. We thought we should have been at least level,'' Gerrard said. "We needed to give an extra 10 per cent. We had to take a few more risks in their final third and it came off today.''

With Liverpool seventh, three points behind rivals Everton, Gerrard said all the Reds can do now is go out and get three points every week.

"[We need to] win every game, finish as high as we can,'' he said. "If we can nick fifth or six, that's what we'll try and do.''

Defeat for Villa left them in the relegation zone, behind Wigan on goal difference, but manager Paul Lambert defended his beaten players.

"In the first half I thought we were excellent, I really did. We were right in it," Lambert said. "In the second half there wasn't much in it. But you can't give goals away like we did - it was definitely a penalty.''

Asked if Villa can beat the drop, the Scot replied: "Yes, definitely. I think anybody who was here today would say the same. We're certainly playing well enough. We don't look like a team down the bottom at the minute. If we keep going the way we're going, we'll win more games than not.''

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