`They were two really great goals'

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The Independent Online

Sir Stanley Matthews put his finger on it before the game when he told Steve McManaman that he liked his dribbling.

And after the match, the Liverpool manager, Roy Evans, could really do no more than praise his wandering goalscorer. "The two goals were fantastic. Sometimes he does need a kick up the backside, but they were really two great goals."

McManaman said: "Give Bolton their due, they battled back in the second half like we knew they would but it was a great team effort by our lads and I was just happy to get two goals like that."

McManaman added: "It's nice to get a win against them for a change, but most of all we are pleased to have won a trophy again. A lot of people wrote us off at the beginning of the season, but we have come back and won one of the three major trophies."

But Evans soon brought everyone back down to earth after what many believed was a wonderful Liverpool performance. "I don't think we played particularly well today," he said. "But I'm delighted for us and for our fans. I feel we deserved to win."

Evans had words for the pre-season critics who doubted that Liverpool could pull a Merseyside renaissance out of the bag once more. "We believed that we've always had a decent squad with players of outstanding ability. The way the lads have worked this season is outstanding. This cup is the first step. We are in Europe and we are delighted."

Ian Rush, the Liverpool captain, said: "Steve's goals were absolutely magnificent individual efforts and it's great for me to pick up a fifth medal. Now I want to make it six next season."

Bruce Rioch, who escorted a bruised and dejected Jason McAteer back into the fold at the end of the match, had nothing but praise for Liverpool's game. "I'm delighted for Roy," he said. "If you're going to lose in a cup final then the winner couldn't have gone to a better club."

Rioch said his team must now ignore the disappointment of a Wembley defeat to concentrate on their remaining Endsleigh League games this season. "In the end it was great for the town and great for the people," he said.

The same could probably have been said by Evans, for a Merseyside revival is now well and truly under way.