Hodgson: We are hungry to atone
Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson insisted his team was still alive and kicking after they held Napoli to a 0-0 UEFA Europa League draw in Naples on Thursday.
The Reds remained top of Group K with two home matches left and Hodgson believes this result, in a drab stalemate, can give his team the boost they need to climb up the Premier League table. Liverpool sit second bottom of the 20-team division, kept off the foot only by West Ham's inferior goal difference.
But ahead of Sunday's clash with Blackburn, Hodgson said this result was the right tonic. "We're going through a very bad passage in the league, things haven't gone our way for a variety of reasons and that's why we find ourselves down the bottom and desperate to get away," he said.
"The new owners have already done a little for the club, they've given us a lift. Even before the Everton game there was a new buoyancy and good feeling that we can get a lift.
"On Sunday we have an opportunity but Blackburn will have something to say about that, but we've shown tonight that we're far from dead as a club and I know all the players who play on Sunday will be chomping at the bit to run and work and fight.
"I just hope the result will go our way to give us a bit of breathing space to move up the table instead of finding ourselves marooned at the bottom of the table."
The former Inter Milan and Switzerland boss picked a young an inexperienced team, leaving Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres back on Merseyside while Joe Cole started on the bench and Jamie Carragher was removed at half-time. Jonjo Shelvey made his first start for the club while there were other young players in the team.
Positives in Naples
And Hodgson said they result vindicated his team selection. "It was a very positive performance in many respects, it's a good point that maybe many people didn't think we would be capable of getting here with the team selected but we proved many people wrong," he said.
"The efforts on the field were commendable, I don't think we should be anything but delighted to have got a point and we're top of the table. All the teams that play in this Euro League, like Napoli when they play away rested some of their players.
"They don't always play the team that played in Serie A. All of us in this group are required to do that if we want to take our domestic league seriously. Napoli and us need to use the players at our disposal in the squad and if the squad is any good the players need to step up to the plate and deal with it, and we did that tonight.
"Like Jonjo making his first start and he did it in a tough atmosphere. Napoli is a tough place to come to at any time, even if you're Inter, Milan or Juventus. I've got to be satisfied, it was a good performance and a deserved result.
"During 92-93 minutes we controlled the game, we had the ball, we didn't give it away easily, and on the counter we were dangerous. I think the intensity of our game with and without the ball was quite good and I think the result with quite a young team shows that."