Gerrard praises Liverpool manager Hodgson

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard insists Roy Hodgson`s arrival as manager has already transformed the atmosphere at Anfield.

Liverpool: Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard insists Roy Hodgson`s arrival as manager has already transformed the atmosphere at Anfield.

Gerrard`s side ended last season in disarray as Rafael Benitez`s reign petered out with the team suffering their worst Premier League finish for over a decade.

The Reds` morale was at rock-bottom as players lost faith with Benitez, who left Liverpool to take charge at Inter Milan during the close-season.

But England star Gerrard believes Hodgson has erased all the gloom since his move to Merseyside from Fulham.

Hodgson has worked on lifting spirits by signing Joe Cole from Chelsea and persuading Gerrard and Fernando Torres to stay.

Even the bitter blow of Jose Reina`s last minute own goal, which denied Liverpool a win over Arsenal in Sunday`s Premier League opener hasn`t dented the positive vibes among the squad and fans.

"My family are Liverpool fans, we are surrounded by them day in and day out. Of course I can feel the optimism, and rightly so," Gerrard said.

"We have got a good manager, we have kept hold of some top players and we have already got some top players here.”

"If we can keep everyone fit I am very confident we can have a completely different season to last year. The boys are enjoying training and working very hard.”

"There is a real buzz about the place and if we had got three points it would have been a magnificent start."

Liverpool`s performance against Arsenal was all the more commendable after the dismissal of Joe Cole on the stroke of half-time for a foul on Laurent Koscielny.

Hodgson`s team responded well to go ahead through David Ngog`s fine strike before Reina`s blunder and Gerrard said: "We were very unlucky not to see it out and take maximum points.

"I`m very proud of all the lads, I thought they put a tremendous shift in. When you are playing Arsenal in the opening game it is tough enough 11 v 11.”

"To lose a man with a half to go and still get something out of the game, I`m really pleased. I thought they were disciplined and looked very fit."

Gerrard also had consoling words for Reina, who denied Tomas Rosicky with a fine fingertip save just moments before his blunder.

"He is one of the best keepers in the world but he will certainly make that up over the course of the season," Gerrard said.

"He is worth a lot of points to the lads, there is no doubt about that. Further down the line we will be 1-0 up or 1-0 down and he will make that class save, that`s what he does."

Bureau Report

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