Hodgson hungry for points

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Football News

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson insists his team need a win against Blackburn at all costs on Sunday to get their Barclays Premier League campaign back on track.

The Reds kicked off the weekend in 19th place with six points from eight games but Hodgson drew encouragement from the performance of what was largely a fringe side in gaining a goalless draw away to Napoli in the Europa League on Thursday night. The former Blackburn boss insists the result is all that counts on the domestic front to avoid the Reds becoming "marooned" at the wrong end of the table.

He said: "What I am hoping for is a little bit luck so the result (against Blackburn) goes our way whether we play well or play badly. That will give ourselves a bit of breathing space in order to start rebuilding and trying to move up the table rather than finding ourselves marooned."

Hodgson can at least take heart from the performance of a team shorn of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Raul Meireles and Lucas Leiva - who were all rested - and Dirk Kuyt and Daniel Agger, unfit and unwell respectively.

It gave the likes of 18-year-old Jonjo Shelvey the opportunity to start his first competitive game for the Reds while Jay Spearing, 21, got another run-out in midfield.

"We have to be satisfied with that result and perhaps more satisfied with a good performance which got a result we deserved," added the Reds boss, who had an unsuccessful spell in charge of Blackburn between 1997 and 1998.

"If your squad is any good then your players will be able to step up to the plate and that was definitely the case on Thursday night as they stepped up to the plate and dealt with it - even Jonjo Shelvey, starting for the first time.

"We did it in a very tough atmosphere because Napoli is a very tough place to come and play at any time - it doesn't matter whether you are Inter Milan, Juventus or Liverpool.

"I know all the players who will get a chance to play on Sunday will be chomping at the bit to get out there and run and work and fight.

"Thursday night had nothing to do with that but the good thing is I haven't forced some players to play three matches in a week, which could quite easily have prejudiced our chances of finding the intensity I am looking for."

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Europa League
Jonjo Shelvey
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Fernando Torres
Daniel Agger
Dirk Kuyt
Steven Gerrard
Jay Spearing

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