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Rodgers hails ‘vital’ Liverpool win and insists Balotelli ‘reacted well’ to benching

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first_imgLiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admitted three points was all that mattered as his side edged West Brom 2-1 at Anfield.It was a much-needed first victory in four Premier League outings for the Reds, having struggled both defensively and in attack in recent games.Having gone ahead on the stroke of half-time thanks to Adam Lallana’s first Liverpool goal, a disputed Saido Berahino penalty – Dejan Lovren’s foul appeared to be outside the area – pegged the Reds back.However, Jordan Henderson latched onto Raheem Sterling’s lay off and finished well into the bottom corner on 60 minutes to secure victory and relieve his boss.“As we work more together the quality of our game will improve and the performance will improve but you have to find a way to win and today we did that,” Rodgers said.“That was against a West Brom team coming in with good confidence having won 4-0 last week.”That triumph came against promoted outfit Burnley, while the Baggies also shocked Tottenham with a 1-0 win at White Hart Lane in their previous tie.“They keep clean sheets, they are difficult to beat and we found a way to break through that resistance and win,” the Reds boss added.“Getting three points was vital for us before the international break.”Rodgers was annoyed with the penalty decision and even West Brom boss Alan Irvine found it difficult to agree with referee Michael Oliver’s controversial decision.“It was never a penalty,” claimed the Anfield chief.“It was fairly straightforward in this country where if the referee needed any help he would look at the linesman – now if they think it is a penalty the linesman has to make a run down towards the corner flag.“I thought the linesman was slow so I didn’t know if he was running or walking so then the referee had to make the call himself and he made the wrong call because it wasn’t a penalty.“Thankfully we went on and maybe had a penalty ourselves but luckily for Michael we scored.”Before the match, all the talk was on Rodgers’ decision to drop Mario Balotelli from the starting line-up, but the manager tried to play it down.Asked how his £16million striker took the news he was going to be on the bench, he said: “I’m not sure. He accepts what the position is.“He is still looking to gain fitness, he has played games. His reaction was fine, he came on and did his best.”Rodgers did say, however, he expects Daniel Sturridge to be back after the break.last_img read more