LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers believes his team can move forward with confidence after knocking champions Manchester City out of their stride.
The Reds were within 10 minutes of claiming a superb victory in their first Barclays Premier League home game of the season after producing the perfect response to their opening day defeat at West Brom.
Carlos Tevez denied them as he pounced on a Martin Skrtel mistake to snatch a 2-2 draw but the positives for Liverpool and new boss Rodgers were plentiful.
Rodgers said: “The best team didn’t win. I thought we were outstanding.
“We were playing against a top side, the champions.
“Once we managed that first 10 minutes, tactically the players were terrific.
“We are obviously disappointed not to have won the game but our young players have given us great hope for the future.
“The fight and the quality they played with, and the atmosphere, was incredible.
“We’re disappointed but we got a point and we move on.”
Two players to catch the eye were summer signing Joe Allen, on his home debut, and 17-year-old striker Raheem Sterling, who was handed his first Premier League start.
With Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini also playing up front and captain Steven Gerrard exerting his usual influence, the Merseysiders were vastly improved after the shock 3-0 reverse at The Hawthorns.
Rodgers said: “The players’ attitude and application has been great. We have shown great resilience. We had a one-off day last week.”
Skrtel rewarded Liverpool for their first-half superiority, and celebrated his newly-signed long-term contract, with a thumping headed goal in the 34th minute.
City equalised against the run of play when Yaya Toure capitalised on defensive uncertainty after 63 minutes but Suarez restored the lead with a brilliant free-kick moments later.
Liverpool looked to have the measure of the below-par champions but a poor backpass from the hitherto excellent Skrtel - who was also linked with City this summer - allowed Tevez to claim his 100th goal in English football.
Rodgers had no complaints about Skrtel, and was even pleased he was looking to pass.
He said: “Martin Skrtel was immense. I commend the courage. The easy thing is to smash it up the pitch.
“For us to dominate games, we need players to have the courage to have the ball.”
One downside for Rodgers was the loss of midfielder Lucas after just four minutes with a thigh injury. The Brazilian, who missed most of last season after undergoing knee surgery, will be assessed early this week.
Rodgers said: “It’s just incredible, he’s been brilliant all pre-season and worked so hard and then just in the warm-up he felt his thigh muscle when he took a shot. It’s unfortunate.”
Rodgers is also looking to bolster his squad before Friday’s transfer deadline.
“We just need help,” he said. “We lost players in the summer and we need to bring in players to replace those.”