Brendan Rodgers hails "excellent" Mamadou Sakho after recent return to form

Brendan Rodgers hailed the impact of defenders Mamadou Sakho and Alberto Moreno as the pair impressed again in Liverpool's encounter with Norwich City on Sunday.

Though the Reds drew 1-1 as Russell Martin equalised for the Canaries on the hour mark after Danny Ings registered his first goal for the club just minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute, the Northern Irishman took confidence from the performances of sveral of his squad.

He stuck with a back three for the visit of Alex Neil's side with Sakho featuring alongside Martin Skrtel and Emre Can after earning his first league start off the back of an excellent performance against Bordeaux in the Europa League in midweek.

Moreno also made his first start in the Premier League in place of Joe Gomez and threatened throughout in a left wing-back position.

Rodgers pleased with returning defenders 

The Spaniard created several opportunities and provided width and support down the left as well as providing the pass for Ings to open the scoring in the 48th minute.

And Rodgers, reflecting on the match after full-time, insisted that Sakho and Moreno "did well" after playing their first full 90 minutes of the season "during the week."

He said that "to recover and perform as they did" was "very good" and demonstrated the qualities they bring to the team.

The defensive duo were as helpful in getting the team further up the pitch as they were in keeping the Reds more solid at the back, as the goal they conceded came only from an individual error.

Rodgers explained that the French centre-back, who has made an immediate impression back in the starting line-up, wasn't selected over Dejan Lovren due to concerns over his fitness earlier in the campaign.

He said that Sakho, who signed a new five-year contract with the Merseyside club on Friday, was "excellent" in the week but said there were previous issues over "keeping him fit" and "making sure he is at a peak level of fitness."

The Reds boss continued that fitness has "always" been something of concern for Sakho, but says that he's "worked very, very hard" on that aspect and has come back into the team at full fitness, will has allowed him to make an "excellent" impact.

Rodgers says there is "no pressure" on Sturridge to return

Sakho and Moreno were not the only returning Liverpool players, as Daniel Sturridge started for the first time since April and added extra pace and tempo to their attack.

The Englishman was notably short of match sharpness, as he was replaced on the hour by Adam Lallana, but Rodgers believes it is only a matter of time before the striker is back to his best.

He said that it was "important" to get Sturridge back on the pitch and said he "did well" for the hour which he featured, but conceded that the 26-year-old is "still a way off his full fitness."

Rodgers still hailed his "presence" and "stature" in Sunday's game, stating that his inclusion always gives them hope because of his "good quality."

He said that the target for the England international is to get more game-time and build his fitness - but vowed there is "no pressure" for him to rush back into the first-team. 

Sturridge's presence could not help Liverpool lift themselves to victory, though Rodgers said they created "enough" chances to take the three points at Anfield.

He called "the most disappointing factor" of the afternoon the goal which they conceded from the first Norwich corner of the game. The Liverpool manager said that his team had "clear" organisation as they had "six men in the box" who know their roles but lost concentration and allowed Martin to hook it in.

Rodgers said it was a goal that shouldn't have happened, but affirmed that there were "more positives" from their performance than their last two league games.

VAVEL Logo