Steven Gerrard talks up Liverpool defender Javier Manquillo

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Gerrard has been impressed with Manquillo's performances, as well as his desire to win a crucial penalty in last night's win over Ludogorets.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has praised the performances of right-back Javier Manquillo ever since he arrived at the club from Atletico Madrid on loan.

Manquillo has made four competitive appearances for the Reds so far this season, and it was crucial intervention that won the penalty for Liverpool last night to spare their blushes against Bulgarian champions Ludogorets, with Steven Gerrard converting the spot-kick to win 2-1 in their Group B opener.

Gerrard told the club's official website after last night's win: "That's the type of defender he is; he's on the front foot, he's aggressive, he's very attacking and he got his reward tonight by being brave and ambitious.

"Even just being down that end of the field - a lot of full-backs would have been staying back and trying to get a draw out of the game.

"But he chased down a lost ball and we got rewarded for it. I think he's done very well since he's come in - not just tonight."

The 20-year-old has looked a more reserved and composed alternative to the more experienced Glen Johnson in that role. Manquillo seems to relish battling with the winger he is up against and recovers well in the tackle. 

Going forward last night he showed he has a good delivery and when encouraged to go forward he can be a goalscoring threat.

There is much to learn for the Spaniard, who could make his loan move from the La Liga champions a permanent one at the end of his initial two-year spell. But the early signs are encouraging from the young defender, who came up with a huge moment for his side on their return to the top table of European football after a five year absence.

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