Brendan Rodgers hails 'outstanding' Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey

 

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is predicting a bright future for midfielder Jonjo Shelvey after a two-goal cameo substitute appearance in last night's 5-3 Europa League win over Young Boys in Bern.

Shelvey, 20, came off the bench with his side 3-2 down and scored within nine minutes before adding another late on in an impressive personal display.

"He has been outstanding," Rodgers said.

"He is still only 20 years of age and is developing and growing all the time and you saw his confidence when he came on.

"His (first) goal, we worked it very well and he did what he can do very well and I think he will be a big player for Liverpool."

The England Under-21 international, signed from Charlton for an initial fee of £1.7million in the summer of 2010, stood out following his introduction in the 67th minute.

He was making his 45th appearance in a side which started with three debutants, two of whom were a couple of years younger, but he showed what that first-team experience had done for his game.

"I felt it was the time of the game we needed him really," Rodgers added.

"It worked well for us because once we got the equaliser they went to more 4-4-2, it gave us the extra man in midfield and we were able to dominate that bit more."

Another player to enjoy a good night was Andre Wisdom, who produced a brilliant leap to power home a first-half header and restore his side's lead after Raphael Nuzzolo had equalised Juhani Ojala's own goal.

It was Liverpool's 200th goal in the competition since they first took part in 1967-68.

"In his first game for Liverpool, and especially it being in Europe, he scored a wonderful header," Rodgers said of Wisdom.

"Andre has played a lot at centre-back but I think he has all the qualities to be a top Premier League right-back, but they all have a lot to learn and have a lot of work to do."

At that stage Liverpool looked in control, but goals from Ojala and Gonzalo Zarate early in the second half turned things around only for Sebastian Coates' header to set the stage for Shelvey's double.

Shelvey has given himself a chance of featuring against Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.

And Rodgers, who made 11 changes for this match, admits the victory has given everyone a lift after two points from their opening four league matches made it the club's worst start for a century.

"It is important to win. We are in the business of winning," he said.

"The performance level in a lot of the games has been very good so far and I have been really pleased with the players.

"To come here with that group and get a win like that and play as well as we did is fantastic and we now focus on the next game, which is Manchester United and one we will look forward to."

PA

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