Date: 17th September 2014 at 12:21am
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Brendan Rodgers hailed Mario Balotelli for a ‘world class finish’ in the Reds Champions League opener against Ludogorets, reports ESPN.

The Italian broke the deadlock with his first Liverpool goal on 82 minutes, showing strength, skill and his finishing prowess to fire in front of the Kop.

It proved not to be the winner however, with the Reds conceding a last minute equaliser – only for Steven Gerrard to fire a winning penalty in the 93rd minute.

And Rodgers was keen to praise the character of his team, despite a somewhat nervy performance.

“I think it was a great night for everyone at the club, the first time in five years [Liverpool has hosted a Champions League game] so to get the result was excellent,” Rodgers added. “My congratulations to the players because they showed great character and commitment to get the result tonight.

“I don’t think we are at the level we were at last year. I think that that will come. There has been a lot of new players that have come in to the club and they’re still adapting to how we work with them so that’s going to take a wee bit of time.

“Until that comes, to show that character and determination to get the result is very important, and to do that in the Champions League is important. There are no poor sides, so to get the win tonight was very important.”

On Balotelli’s first goal for the club, Rodgers said: “It was a wonderful finish. We’ve said to him to get in the box more, that was important for him.

“He’s got great technique, sometimes when the ball’s in the wide areas he spends a lot of time outside of the box but when he’s in there, his strength and power to take the touch was a world-class finish.”