Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hailed the impact of Jonjo Shelvey after his side won 3-2 at West Ham.
Shelvey played as the visitors’ lone striker at Upton Park in place of the suspended Luis Suarez, and the 20-year-old played a key role in forcing the own-goal that won the game for Liverpool 11 minutes from time.
“Shelvey was outstanding,” Rodgers told reporters.
“He was a threat in and around the box, showed great feet. He was outstanding and a lot of credit to him because people were looking to compare him to Luis Suarez. He’s only 20 too and he’s got a big future.
“For us, there was no drama missing Luis. My focus when I came in was about the collective, sharing the ball and sharing the workload. We don’t ask anyone to do more than anyone else. I was confident we would score goals without Luis.”
The win takes the Reds into the top half of the table and Rodgers believes it will set his team up to challenge for the Champions League places at the end of the campaign.
“It’s a very tight league this season,” he said.
“It’s more about how you finish than how you start. We’ve supposedly had a bad season, so once we hit form we will be alright.
“It’s a brilliant win for us today. (West Ham manager) Sam Allardyce has done a terrific job here and made it very difficult for teams coming here.
“I thought my players were brilliant. I thought we thoroughly deserved it in the end, some of our play was outstanding.”
Allardyce revealed after the loss that midfielder Mohammed Diame could be out of action for up to 12 weeks after picking up a hamstring problem against Rodgers’ side.
“It’s not looking good,” he said.
“It doesn’t take a medical expert to know it’s a serious hamstring tear. I’d expect it to be a grade three, which can be anything up to 12 weeks.
“He’s about the start and build-up of our creative attacking game, getting through the midfield barrier the opposing team put up and driving at their back four. He drives them back into their own box.
“We will have to be a bit more dogged and resilient now.”
After their impressive win over Chelsea last weekend, West Ham came unstuck against Liverpool and Allardyce was surprised by the result.
“It was a weird day,” he said.
“You wouldn’t expect five goals between two sides who defend well, and you wouldn’t expect two former West Ham players to score.
“We’ve got to take it on the chin. We played as well as we could. It’s disappointing to lose but it’s even more disappointing when your most creative player leaves the field with a serious injury.
“We’ve got to try and continue our good form and our good results. We’ve been going through a good period but the biggest and most disappointing thing is the injuries.”