Jamie Carragher delighted to see winning start for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

 

Jamie Carragher insists launching Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool reign on a triumphant note was more critical than reaching his own special milestone.

The Reds opened their Europa League campaign with last night's 1-0 victory over Belarus' FC Gomel in the first leg of their third qualifying round clash.

A late goal from Stewart Downing ensured Rodgers' first competitive match as manager proved successful, while Carragher amassed his 700th appearance for the club.

"Every game for Liverpool is massive - it doesn't matter where it is - and I'm proud to have played that many games," he told the club's official website, http://www.liverpoolfc.com.

"It was a nice night for me on that score, but it was more important because it was the manager's first game. That's more important than me playing 700 games.

"It's a big thing for a manager in his first game, especially playing in Europe.

"It's a big thing for Liverpool, great tradition and it's great we got the victory for the manager more than anything."

FC Gomel sit third in Belarus' national league after 15 games and Carragher admits their superior fitness levels made life difficult for Liverpool, who are still in pre-season.

"We're pleased with the victory. It was a tough game, as European away games always are," he said.

"They're in the middle of a season and I think you could see that in the fitness levels - they were much better at times than us.

"With fitness levels, it doesn't matter who you're playing against, whatever level it is, if they're halfway through their season it's going to be tough.

"Some of our lads were playing their first game. It was the first time I've played 90 minutes and it was the same for a few of us.

"It was a very tough game and you'd probably say they had the better of the game, to be fair.

"But that's what playing in Europe is about, getting the win and a vital away goal puts us in a strong position. We're delighted to come away with the victory."

PA

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