Football: Derby draw encourages Liverpool boss Rodgers

Football: Derby draw encourages Liverpool boss Rodgers
Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers.

LIVERPOOL - Brendan Rodgers said Liverpool were returning to their best form following a 1-1 draw with Everton in the Merseyside derby.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard scored his 10th goal in 32 appearances against their city rivals shortly after the hour mark in the Premier League contest at Anfield on Saturday.

However, Everton skipper Phil Jagielka ensured the 223rd meeting between the near neighbours ended all square when he equalised in injury time with a spectacular long-range strike.

Liverpool, last season's runners-up, have won just twice in six Premier League games so far this season but manager Rodgers insisted they were unfortunate not to have taken all three points.

"Certainly we didn't get what we deserved," he said.

"We were much the better side. When you concede a goal like that, it shows the luck that went against us.

"But I thought the intensity was getting back up to near where we have been for 19 months. Tactically, I thought we were very good in the game.

"We defended very well. We took the lead, we should have arguably had at least two more (goals) and we should have had a penalty," the Northern Irishman added.

"It was disappointing to only get a point, but I think the performance, which I'm clearly looking to at the moment, was at a much better level than we have been at.

"I never felt in any danger in the game. I felt the organisation was very good with good concentration and with the ball we were a real threat.

"When you concede so late, they virtually had nothing, it is a little bit frustrating." Rodgers singled out England midfielder Adam Lallana for praise and believes the influence of the close-season signing from Southampton will continue to grow over the course of the campaign.

"I thought Adam was outstanding," Rodgers said. "He came in to his first derby game and played with that quality and intensity.

"To deliver that performance was great because it shows me he is getting fitter and fitter. He was a constant threat." Liverpool were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Raheem Sterling's shot was blocked by the raised arms of Everton midfielder Gareth Barry, with Rodgers adamant that referee Martin Atkinson should have pointed to the spot.

Martinez proud of Jagielka

Meanwhile Everton manager Roberto Martinez insisted England centre-half Jagielka's goal was a just reward for the captain, who has been the subject of criticism for both club and country this season.

"I was so proud. He cares for this club like no-one else," Martinez said. "It was an example of his belief in himself and the responsibility he has.

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