And Rodgers says Agger injury was freak gym accident
Brendan Rodgers praised his Liverpool FC side for “digging in” to preserve their unbeaten start to the season – then revealed the freak injury that has sidelined Daniel Agger.
Rodgers’ side moved a point clear at the top of the embryonic Premier League table after an enthralling 2-2 draw against his former club Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
Ex-Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey opened the scoring only for goals from Daniel Sturridge – the striker’s sixth in five appearances this season – and debutant Victor Moses to put the visitors ahead by the break.
But after a 64th-minute equaliser from Michu, Liverpool were forced to withstand heavy Swansea pressure during the final quarter after Philippe Coutinho departed with a shoulder problem.
And Rodgers, who also handed a debut to £18million centre-back Mamadou Sakho, reflected on the result as a point gained.
“I thought the first 65 minutes we were very good,” said the Northern Irishman.
“Nobody knows the Liberty Stadium as well as I do and the atmosphere the fans can generate, so we showed incredible character to get back into it so early after they had scored.
“We are disappointed with the second goal that we have given away but we had to show another side to our game by digging in to protect the point. We have got another improvement to make but we are going in the right direction.
“We have a character in the team that is going to allow us to pick up a lot of points. In the end it is a point gained.”
As well as finding the target, Shelvey – who departed Anfield in the summer for £5m – was directly at fault for both Liverpool goals and provided the assist for Swansea’s equaliser.
And Rodgers said: “Jonjo, bless him. He is a terrific boy and made a brave decision to come here.
“It wasn’t easy for him to leave Liverpool. But it is about learning for him. He took his goal well and his come here to learn on nights like this.”
Despite having not played any competitive football this season, Sakho was pressed into an instant start following his move from Paris Saint-Germain after Agger injured himself at Melwood earlier in the week.
“It’s too early to say whether Daniel will be fit for Saturday (at home to Southampton),” said Rodgers. “He had a real freak incident in the gym.
“Just before he was coming out to train, he overstretched trying to prevent a dumbbell falling on his foot. He has overstretched and yanked his side.
“We are waiting to see if that settles down over the next few days. If it doesn’t, we have got ample replacements. That is why we brought in extra players.
“Sakho did very well. He has played a lot over pre-season but he has come back in and done very well. I thought he was excellent and assured. Once he gets used to working with us, he will improve.”
Moses, signed on a season-long loan from Chelsea, was also given a first Liverpool start, and Rodgers said: “I had a feeling with Victor coming here.
“When I was manager here, he always played well against us. He scored here and also scored for Chelsea here. I just had a feeling about him and his goal was very good.”
Rodgers pinpointed the departure of Coutinho, who left the ground with his arm in a sling following a heavy collision with Swansea captain Ashley Williams, as a turning point in the game.
“We had fluency and quality,” he said. “But when Coutinho went off, we probably lost that connection between our midfield and forwards.
“He will have a wee scan. It’s his shoulder.”