Roy Hodgson delighted with Steven Gerrard performance

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson had to rein in the superlatives about Steven Gerrard after his captain's hat-trick secured a 3-1 victory over Napoli in Group K of the Europa League.

Trailing to Ezequiel Lavezzi's 28th-minute goal, Gerrard came off the bench for the start of the second half and proceeded to dominate the game.

His three goals came in the final 15 minutes, beating goalkeeper Morgan de Sanctis to a 50-50 for his first, firing home an 88th-minute penalty after Glen Johnson was fouled and then executing a clever dink over De Sanctis seconds later.

Hodgson had put Gerrard on the bench as back-up and was thankful he did after accepting before the end of the first half he had to make the change.

"At half-time I thought our best chance of winning the game was to bring him on," he added.

"Steven likes to play, him and players like Jamie Carragher and Jose Reina don't themselves seek rest periods.

"They understand what I am trying to do so there is never any problem if I want to put them on.

"They are the first to put their hands up to say, 'If you need me, I'm there'.

"I think he has been good in the games he has played for me. I've got to say I have been more than happy with everything he has done during my time at the club."

Asked if Gerrard was the best catalyst player in England the Reds boss added: "It would be easy for me to say yes because he is a player in a team I am coaching.

"But I've never really appreciated managers coming out and saying my good one is better than your good one.

"I think he is a wonderful player and I have always thought he was a wonderful player and he does a fantastic job for us.

"We owe a big debt of gratitude to him. I thought it was a real leader's performance.

"The first goal was not a pretty goal.

"That was a captain's goal, the goal of a guy who wanted to get his team back in the game even at the risk of injury. That is certainly appreciated by me and my staff."

Gerrard tried to spread the credit around the team but it was difficult to see past his individual performance.

"We went a goal down and the manager asked me to come on and see if I could help get the lads back in it," he said.

"Everyone played their part. I'm sure I'll get the headlines but it certainly wasn't just about me.

"Every one of the lads in the second half was just fantastic."

Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri complained about French official Fredy Fautrel but also criticised his team for conceding "silly goals".

"It became increasingly clear in the second half that the referee was happy to whistle for fouls for them and was giving very little to us - this changed the course of the game," he said.

"But we can't just blame the referee, we were also very naive due to our lack of experience.

"The first goal was almost like an own goal the way we gave it away and that changed the atmosphere in the stadium. We conceded silly goals."

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas