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Brendan Rodgers delighted after draw, confident Liverpool can qualify


Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was "extremely happy" after his side's 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Tuesday night.

The Reds needed a brilliant Raheem Sterling goal to restore parity in the second half after Eden Hazard's first-half penalty gave Chelsea the lead.

And with the two teams set to face each other next week, the Northern Irishman again says that his team is slowly returning to the level of last season.

"It was a big performance from us. We're starting to return to the level that we've been at," Rodgers said.

"It's always difficult against them; they sit in a low block, the spaces are closed, and especially if you go 1-0 behind. They are an outstanding team and they know how to defend well.

"They know that they were moved about the pitch tonight. The spaces were opening up for us, we got the goal and they really had to hang on. They'll be happier in terms of the scoreline.

"But I'm obviously extremely happy with the way our performance level is improving all the time. We can now go into the second leg knowing that the movement and speed could cause them a problem.

"It was a good game - it was a big game between two really good teams. They had one shot on target, which shows you how magnificently we defended, pressured the ball and blocked spaces.

"But then our creation in the game was at a really high level - the only thing that was missing was the finish. It was an outstanding team performance.

"It sets us up perfectly now for the second leg. Obviously you would expect Chelsea to open up a bit more, playing at home, and that will work even better for us.

"You saw how we were defensively tonight, really aggressive and really compact. They have got top-class players but I felt the performance tonight was a good benchmark for us in how we're working.

Liverpool face Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup next and the 41-year-old says the focus will now be shifted to Saturday's game.

"There is absolutely no doubt that we can go into the second leg and get the result that we need," the manager added.

"We'll have confidence in doing that. But we've got a big game at the weekend before then."

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Brendan Rodgers