Roy Hodgson pleased with under-strength Liverpool

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Manager Roy Hodgson praised the way several fringe members of his squad performed after Liverpool opened their Europa League group stage campaign with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Steaua Bucharest.

The Reds took the lead within the opening 30 seconds as Joe Cole pounced on a defensive error to place a right-foot shot beyond the exposed Ciprian Tatarusanu.

The Romanian outfit equalised after 13 minutes but the result was never in doubt after David N'Gog coolly converted a 55th minute spot-kick.

Lucas made it 3-1 with a 20-yard strike before a late second from N'Gog completed the scoring.

Hodgson had opted to rest the likes of captain Steven Gerrard, star striker Fernando Torres and Jamie Carragher with Sunday's league trip to Manchester United in mind.

Speaking after the comprehensive victory, he was delighted with the manner in which less experienced players stepped up to the plate.

He said:"I think it is important you make decisions and make them for the right reasons.

"I had no doubt that, given the fact we have so many players who play international football, this was the moment to give them a rest and allow them to prepare properly for Sunday's game.

"The ones who came in did a good job and got a good result and in my opinion the decision would have been just as valid even if we had not got a good result.

"They made us work hard to contain them but even in that period Joe (Cole) showed some good touches.

"I'll start thinking about the weekend come Friday. I'll just enjoy the victory tonight."

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