Sunday 22 April 2018

Brendan Rodgers: The character in this Liverpool team is immense

Kop boss hails his side after FA Cup win at Selhurst Park

Liverpool's Adam Lallana (L) celebrates after scoring a goal against Crystal Palace during the FA Cup fifth round soccer match at Selhurst Park in London February 14, 2015. REUTERS/Philip Brown (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
Liverpool's Adam Lallana (L) celebrates after scoring a goal against Crystal Palace during the FA Cup fifth round soccer match at Selhurst Park in London February 14, 2015. REUTERS/Philip Brown (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring his sides first goal of the game during the FA Cup Fifth Round match at Selhurst Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday February 14, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Palace. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 14: Adam Lallana of Liverpool celebrates scoring the second goal with Martin Skrtel of Liverpool during the FA Cup fifth round match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on February 14, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers lauded the "immense character" in his side after seeing them come from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 and reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.

The in-form Reds had only lost once in 15 games coming into the match but looked at risk of suffering another defeat after finding themselves trailing at half-time at Selhurst Park to a Fraizer Campbell goal.

However, fit-again striker Daniel Sturridge drew the teams level soon after the break and then Adam Lallana scored what would prove to be the winner after following up a Mario Balotelli free-kick to net on the rebound.

Rodgers told BT Sport: "We had to be patient but of course we had to show character, and the character in the team has been immense in the last few months.

Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho (right) celebrates with Liverpool's Rickie Lambert and Liverpool's Alberto Moreno (left) after the final whistle during the FA Cup Fifth Round match at Selhurst Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday February 14, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Palace. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho (right) celebrates with Liverpool's Rickie Lambert and Liverpool's Alberto Moreno (left) after the final whistle during the FA Cup Fifth Round match at Selhurst Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday February 14, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Palace. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

"Once we got the (equaliser), we got our confidence back into the game again."

Rodgers was also pleased to have "natural" goalscorer Sturridge available again after injury, and believes "the penny has dropped" at last for Balotelli.

The Italy international has largely failed to impress since moving to Anfield last summer but he scored the winner against Spurs last weekend and had a hand in Liverpool's decider against Palace.

Rodgers said: "He's been working really hard in training and I think now the penny's dropped... I assess players in training every day, no matter how good they are, and they have to put the work in.

"It has been difficult for him, because he's come into a style maybe he's never been in before, but one thing he has got is quality, and he's got big quality and the last couple of games he's come off the bench and been effective for us."

Palace manager Alan Pardew described the cup exit as an "opportunity missed" but felt Liverpool deserved their win.

He said: "I felt we didn't put enough pressure on Liverpool today. We had a great chance at half-time. We should have done better today.

"I'm not too disappointed but I do feel it was an opportunity missed.

"But we're not going to make excuses and I think Liverpool deserved to win, and you have to accept that sometimes."

Read more: Sturridge and Lallana strike to seal Cup win for Liverpool

Palace's English defender Joel Ward (R) puts his arm on Liverpool's English Italian striker Mario Balotelli (L) during the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park in south London on February 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS
RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Palace's English defender Joel Ward (R) puts his arm on Liverpool's English Italian striker Mario Balotelli (L) during the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park in south London on February 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

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