Premier League: Brendan Rodgers hails Liverpool persistence after hard-fought win over Stoke

Brendan Rodgers celebrates with Adam Lallana after Glen Johnson (not pictured) scores the winning goal
Image: Rodgers: Celebrates with Lallana after Johnson's winner

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hailed his side's persistence as they battled to a 1-0 victory over Stoke to end their miserable run.

Glen Johnson’s late header gave the Reds their first victory in all competitions in November, ending a run of three straight Premier League defeats.

It was a cagey affair at Anfield with no shots on target in a drab opening 45 minutes, but it was a much-improved match after the break which saw plenty of chances before Johnson’s vital winner.

"Absolutely I thought [we deserved to win]," said Rodgers. "It was obviously a difficult game. Stoke don’t concede many goals - they’ve got outstanding players.

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"Mark [Hughes] has done an excellent job since he’s gone in there. They’ve got quality in their team so we knew it was going to be a test, but I thought we thoroughly deserved the win.

Brendan Rodgers is hoping the 1-0 victory over Stoke City at Anfield will help and get confidence back in to his squad

"We had to be persistent today and keep going. In the second half, the speed of our game was better - we were able to express ourselves a little bit more after a solid first half."

Rodgers' men have league fixtures against strugglers Leicester and Sunderland before a vital Champions League encounter with Basel, where a win will see them through to the last 16.

Confidence

The Liverpool boss admitted his side have not matched the standards set last season, but feels Saturday’s hard-fought victory over the Potters could prove to be a watershed moment.

Sky Sports' Charlie Nicholas thinks that Mark Hughes will be wondering how Stoke didn't get a result at Liverpool

"We haven’t been playing at our best this season," Rodgers added. "There are a handful of occasions, if even that, when we’ve been really fluent.

"For us, it was just about getting the confidence back in the group. We haven’t been good enough in our performances, but they’ve shown in the last couple of games that determination and being competitive is what this group is about.

"Sometimes, to go on a really good run like we’ve done over the course of 18 months, you have to start with solid victories and today was a solid victory. We had that in the first game of last season against Stoke when we won 1-0, so we’re hoping that again, our season is starting with that.

"There’s still a long way to go, but today was a very important three points for us."

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