BRENDAN RODGERS praised Liverpool’s performance level as they recorded their biggest home league win of 2012 with a 4-0 triumph over Fulham.
Having been beaten comfortably by Aston Villa in their last Anfield outing, the Reds were in rampant form this time round, as goals from Martin Skrtel, Steven Gerrard, Stewart Downing and Luis Suarez moved them into the top half of the Premier League table.
And Rodgers admitted he had anticipated a reaction from his side, saying that his side’s pressing game had been key to their victory.
"I thought we were outstanding today," he said. "I knew we would get a reaction because I have very honest players here, working very hard every day.
"It was really satisfying. It’s ironic really that it was the first week, excluding international breaks, where we have been able to have what I would call a full pattern of work and training.
"I always say that if we press well, we will pass well, and I think our pressing today was at a really high level.
"Fulham are a good footballing side, but the co-ordination of our play and the educated pressure we put on the ball was outstanding, and that then allows you the right to play."
On a day of excellent individual performances, Downing picked up many of the plaudits, having grabbed his first league goal – and first league assist – for the club. Having revealed last week that he was free to leave the club, the England winger enjoyed his best game in a red shirt.
"I thought Stewart was brilliant today, in every aspect of the game," Rodgers said.
"I spoke to Stewart about six or seven weeks ago and we had an honest conversation about where he was at.
"He’s in his late 20s, he was an England international, and he wasn’t playing. So we spoke about how he could get into the team.
"And I think his reaction from that moment, like it has been for Jose Enrique and one or two of the others, has been outstanding.
"If he keeps playing like that, he’ll be going nowhere – he’ll be staying in the team and that’s what it’s about."
Rodgers’ side now conclude their year with back-to-back away games at Stoke City and QPR, and the Ulsterman says he is encouraged by the progress being made at the club.
"If you look beyond last week, I think we have been improving steadily," he said. "You can see the confidence in the team.
"They have been improving every week. If we keep making the progress that we have, then it should be a really exciting second half to the season for us.
"We have got four games in quick succession, so we’ll recover the players well and make sure they are right because it is a great opportunity to pick up points and keep moving forward."