Point means progress, says Liverpool boss Rodgers

Liverpool’s North Irish manager Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers claimed the point his side secured from their 2-2 draw with Aston Villa should be seen as a mark of the progress they have made this season.

Villa took a 2-0 lead in the Premier League clash at Anfield with goals from Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke, but Liverpool fought back to earn a point.

Daniel Sturridge pulled a goal back just before half-time and Liverpool equalised with a controversial penalty won by Luis Suarez and converted by skipper Steven Gerrard.

Rodgers felt the result in the context of this campaign could prove to be a valuable one as Liverpool, fourth in the table, strive to qualify for the Champions League.

“It’s a mark of how we are doing. We played Stoke and then Aston Villa last year at the same time last season and we didn’t get any points, we lost both games,” Rodgers said.

“This time we have four points out of the six. It could prove to be a very important point for us.

“It’s a mark of the mentality team that we weren’t at our best and could dig out a result. It was a good point in the end considering we were 2-0 down.

“We couldn’t get going and get any rhythm. We couldn’t get any flow in our game, but in the second half we showed great spirit.

“We weren’t great, but it was going to be very important we got something from the game. We’ve shown yet again great character to come back.”

Rodgers also addressed the game’s most controversial moment when Suarez went to ground in the penalty area after Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan came off his line and referee Jon Moss awarded a spot-kick.

Television replays were inconclusive as to whether Guzan had touched on the Uruguay striker.

“It was a clear penalty,” said Rodgers. “When you watch it closely, the goalkeeper’s left arm made contact with Luis Suarez’s foot.

“I also thought we were unlucky not to get another penalty when Leandro Bacuna handballed it.”

Villa manager Paul Lambert exonerated American international Guzan of any blame and felt it was a harsh decision which went against his side.

“I think Brad Guzan pulled his arms away which could be a biased view,” Lambert said.

“I think the referee was in a good position. But, as I said, I thought Guzan pulled his arms away. I don’t think it was a penalty.

“With the magnitude of the game you have to be 100% sure. You are up against the Kop End, and that can be intimidating.”

The point left Villa, who have now lost just one of their last five visits to Anfield, in mid-table.

And Lambert admitted there were plenty of plus points after they came into the game on the back of a defeat to leaders Arsenal and being knocked out of the FA Cup by League One Sheffield United.

“I don’t think we could have done any more except win the game. There were major plus points. Nearly every player was outstanding,” added Lambert.

“We should have been out of sight after that first half. It could have been at least three. But the way we played the game was fantastic. I thought we were brilliant.

“I thought Christian Benteke was back to his old self — he was outstanding. Ryan Bertrand, I have to say, was absolutely fantastic and Ron Vlaar looked tremendous.

“But it’s been promising in the league since the turn of the year. We won at Sunderland. We looked excellent in the second half against Arsenal and against Liverpool here we were fantastic.”