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Liverpool boss Hodgson praises under strength Reds

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has heaped praise on his side for securing qualification to Europa League's Round of 32 after a tough 1-1 away draw with Steaua Bucharest.

The Reds were without eight first team players but still managed to get the result required to send them through to the next phase of the competition, prompting congratulations from their boss.

"I'm very happy and happy most of all that the team we had the confidence to take on this tough task of playing Steaua away and were able to produce the performance and get the result we needed," said Hodgson.

"We always knew it was going to be tough because it was a bit of a last chance for Steaua to qualify so I was a little bit concerned with my team selection but the players served the club well and stuck at our task very well.

"I asked a lot of them; asking that team with so many players who had not played for a long time - Joe Cole, Fabio Aurelio, Ryan Babel - and players like Danny Wilson, Dani Pacheco and Jonjo Shelvey who hardly play in the first team.

"Asking them to come to Steaua and get a result against a team of their quality, that is why I was concerned.

"It was a big ask for those players to stand up to some of the pressure and deal with some of the quality football and I am delighted for them and we now top the group in the final game.

"It would have been nice to win the game and Pepe (Reina) is a bit down because he is disappointed he didn't keep a clean sheet."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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