Gerrard rides to the rescue for Hodgson

LIVERPOOL 3 vs NAPOLI 1

FOR the umpteenth time in his Liverpool career Steven Gerrard dragged his side out of a major hole, as his second-half hat-trick put Napoli to the sword at Anfield.

Manager Roy Hodgson had intended to rest his skipper ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Premier League leaders Chelsea.

But with the Reds trailing to Ezequiel Lavezzi’s first-half strike, Hodgson was left with no option but to summon Gerrard from the bench as the start of the second period.

And his main man delivered with a dramatic hat-trick - all three goals coming inside the final 14 minutes.

Hodgson said: “We showed an awful lot of character and determination in the second half and it took some Steven Gerrard magic. He was the catalyst.”

Gerrard, modest as ever, added: “Everyone played their part tonight. I’m sure I’ll get the headlines but it certainly wasn’t just about me.

“We went a goal down and the manager asked me to come on and see if I could help get the lads back in it and thankfully it worked out.

“Every one of the lads in the second half was just fantastic.”

City slip to a third consecutive defeat

MANCHESTER CITY boss Roberto Mancini bemoaned his side’s luck after they slipped to a 3-1 defeat in Poland. City looked on course to end a run of two straight defeats, before two goals in the last four minutes gave Lech Poznan the win. Mancini said: “If we played this game another 100 times we would win 90 times.”