Date: 29th January 2014 at 4:37pm
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An ecstatic Brendan Rodgers was quick to praise his players and the role of the supporters in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over neighbours Everton…

Liverpool made a big statement last night with a resounding 4-0 defeat of Merseyside rivals and fellow high-flyers Everton.

An enthralling encounter was ultimately decided by some lethal finishing as goals from Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and a Daniel Sturridge brace went unanswered by the men in blue.

The win was Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers‘ first in a Merseyside Derby after the previous three encounters since he took over at Anfield last summer ended in draws.

Speaking at his post-match press conference, the 41-year-old reflected on a memorable night and described the display as ‘brilliant’.

“I’m delighted for the players and obviously the supporters,” commented Rodgers. “I know that feelings run high here on Merseyside for the derby games.

“It was a brilliant team performance. There was good defensive organisation. We were outstanding on the counter attack and we controlled our spaces really well.

“We were clinical in front of goal. We scored four and could have had arguably two or three more. It was a brilliant win for us and I’m delighted for everyone.

“It’s obviously really special because of the nature of the game – it was two teams that have been doing outstandingly well and doing the city proud throughout the course of the season.

“It was a combination of the players and the supporters – they were brilliant again tonight. I’m delighted for them because I know how special the derby games are here and how special they are for the supporters.”

The three points keep Liverpool in the final Champions League qualifying spot (4th) but crucially they extend their advantage over Everton to four points.

Rodgers believes the psychological lift such a result provides could also prove crucial in the final reckoning.

“For us, it was a tireless performance,” continued the Kop boss. “To win the big games like these here, you’ve got to attack and defend together, and I thought our unit – right the way from the goalkeeper to the front players – worked tirelessly at filling the spaces. Then, when we had the ball, we looked a real threat.

“All wins are important, but especially against your rivals. We know there’s still a wee bit to go, but psychologically it was a big, big win for us and one that can reiterate the confidence and belief in the squad.

“We’ve just got to keep putting our foot to the floor, keep giving these performances and keep scoring goals.”

The margin of victory was the highest in this fiercely contested fixture since 1992 and Liverpool remain undefeated at Anfield against Everton since 1999.

Perhaps the only negative to emerge from the game was the reaction of Sturridge to being substituted in the closing stages; the England international striker appeared to question the decision as he reached the touchline.

Rodgers appeared to play down the incident however; attributing it to the former Chelsea man’s frustration at missing an earlier penalty that would have completed a fantastic hat-trick.

“It was just frustration on his part, but there is no problem,” explained the ex-Swansea City chief. “Sometimes it is tactical or down to injury, but you accept coming off and sit with the rest for the remainder of the game.

“If you want an explanation, you can knock on my door the next morning, and you will get an honest answer. You don’t disrespect the club or its supporters. Daniel was just disappointed because he was desperate to get on the scoresheet again.”

In fairness to Sturridge he was quick to apologise for his behaviour after the final whistle, telling broadcaster BT Sport: “I want to apologise for my reaction. It was just disappointment after missing the penalty, but I let myself down and the fans. I apologise if it caused anyone any offence.

“I didn’t react in any way (to Rodgers) when I came off, I was just disappointed in how I took the penalty. But it’s not about myself. It’s about the boys in the team.”

Liverpool are next in action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion.

Click here to read our match report of the game

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