'Quiet man' Rodriguez turns up Reds' volume

After a slow start, the Argentine midfielder tells Tim Rich he can shine at Liverpool
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The Independent Online

It was nothing like the strike that was voted the finest goal of the 2006 World Cup – a long ball chested down and volleyed home that gave Argentina a 2-1 victory over Mexico.

It was frankly a toe-poke and, when he reviewed the video, the Bolton keeper, Jussi Jaaskelainen, would have thought he might have saved it. But it handed Liverpool their first away victory in six months; it lifted them out of the relegation zone and gave their fans some hope that tomorrow's encounter with Chelsea will not be the kind of stroll for the champions that it was when these two sides last met in May.

Maxi Rodriguez may have been one of the "leftovers" referred to by Roy Hodgson when he surveyed the Liverpool squad bequeathed him by Rafael Benitez, but if so he has been reheated rather well. His goal last Sunday, made with a flick through Gary Cahill's legs by Fernando Torres, the man whom Rodriguez succeeded as captain of Atletico Madrid, gave Liverpool something they craved; a win against the run of play, a bit of luck.

"I don't know if you can say Bolton was my best performance since I came to England," Rodriguez said. "It is easy to think that because I scored the goal and we won the game. But, if the team wins, then so much the better.

"We have always believed in our team and in ourselves as players and we believe this team can beat anyone we play. We have won two games in a row, we have to make sure everyone is fit after Napoli and then we have to focus on Chelsea. There is no reason why we cannot win with tranquillity at home."

Hodgson admitted that Rodriguez was, initially, one of the more difficult players to establish a relationship with. "Maxi is a quiet man and his English isn't as good as some of the other players so it is not easy to have a long conversation with him," said Hodgson, who speaks a myriad of languages but not Spanish. "But he has picked up very quickly on what we want him to do and how we want him to play.

"He didn't get a chance from the outset because we had Dirk Kuyt playing in that position but since he has come in he has done very well and I think he could play right, left or in the centre."

"All managers have their own style and the new manager who arrived this summer has a different one to the one who left," Rodriguez said. "They are not particularly similar in the way they do things or what they want us to do, so we have all had to adapt to the style of today's Liverpool manager.

"The important thing is that we have the players to do that – to play higher up the pitch as he wants us to do. We have not had a good start to the season but now we are getting our confidence back. The most important thing for a new manager is results. If you are winning games and the players are full of confidence, you can change your style much more quickly. If not, it is much more complicated."

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