Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers distinguished the attacking trio of Luis Suarez, Stewart Downing, and summer signing Fabio Borini for special contribution in the 3-0 destruction of Gomel at Anfield in the Europa League last night.
Downing, who had scored the decisive goal in the 1-0 first leg win in Belarus last week, did not appear on the score sheet yesterday evening but was a handful in initiating chances along with Suarez.
The Uruguayan began a dazzling move that led to Borini’s first Liverpool goal before also setting up skipper Steven Gerrard for an easy second goal in the fixture.
Glen Johnson then scored a brilliant third goal late in the match to make it 4-0 of aggregate and send the Carling Cup holders through based on a strong collective effort.
But while he was thrilled to see his squad coming together, Rodgers also took the opportunity to heap special praise on the three men who were a force to reckon with up front.
“He’s an intelligent boy and a good kid. He is fitting in very well and I thought he took his goal brilliantly as it was a difficult finish,” Rodgers told Liverpool’s official website about Borini.
The gaffer added: “The ball was up in the air and he showed good technique to get over it and finish it well.”
Moving on to Suarez and Downing, the former Swansea boss continued: “Luis Suarez is an incredible player. He’s come back and looked great in training, and I thought on the night his imagination and creativity in and around the box was magnificent. Not only that but his pressing when we lost the ball was very good.
“I must give a mention for Stewart Downing as well because he gave us good width on that side and worked very hard as well. They were a real potent attacking force and scored three and could have had more.”
While a successful start to their European campaign is a welcome confidence booster, Rodgers and the Reds are fully aware that following last season’s eighth place finish in the Premier League, that is the competition where they most desperately need to prove their credentials starting with next Saturday’s season opener away to West Bromwich Albion.