Hodgson hails Reds response

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Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson was pleased with the way his side coped without the inspirational qualities of captain Steven Gerrard in the 3-0 victory over West Ham at Anfield.

The match was won in the first half after goals from Glen Johnson, Dirk Kuyt - from the penalty spot - and Maxi Rodriguez, taking the Reds within three points of fourth place currently occupied by Bolton. West Ham were woeful in the first half and improved only slightly after the break.

"It was important to win and I think we did it in some style," said Hodgson. "We knew what we had to do. We were concerned we would have to do it without Steven and Lucas Leiva (who was suspended) but the players selected did really well."

He added: "We got the three points we needed and we got it with not only a good performance but a thoroughly professional performance.

"I don't think the words comfortable and relaxed are words us managers use too often but if you're not comfortable 3-0 up at half-time and they've not had a shot on goal you're never going to be."

Johnson, who missed the last three matches with a groin injury, was criticised by Hodgson nearly a fortnight ago for failing to display the form which had made him an England international.

Apart from his goal, the right-back showed that had taken on board what had been said and was starting to rediscover that form.

"It was very good. I think Glen profited from the fact he has been obliged to undergo an enforced rest with the injury but has been fit and trained hard all week," added the Reds boss.

"He was full of running, enthusiasm and energy and scored the important first goal.

"His performance, as for all of the back four, was pretty-nigh perfect."

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Maxi Rodriguez
Bolton Wanderers
Glen Johnson
Premier League
Dirk Kuyt
Steven Gerrard

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