Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers felt youngster Raheem Sterling responded with a "fantastic" performance after being thrown into the action against Manchester City.
New boss Rodgers had no qualms about handing the 17-year-old forward his first Barclays Premier League start and he repaid the faith with an eye-catching display. The pacy Sterling gave the City defence, particularly Kolo Toure, plenty to think about as part of a three-man attack with Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini during a pulsating 2-2 draw.
"It was an easy decision. I said when I first came in, I wouldn't judge people on their status, on what they are or what they have done, but on what I see in front of me," Rodgers said.
"He is a young player who has just improved every single day since I came in here. He was a player that played on his own in the one v ones. And you look at him fighting for the team, his tactical understanding playing a really experienced player - he was blocking the lines of the pass, he was pressing at the right time, he was coming back to block the lines inside.
"For a 17-year-old playing against the champions, I thought his performance was fantastic but he has a long way to go because you have got to be consistent and that is something I'll have to keep a close eye on."
Liverpool are still looking for their first win of the season but morale will be greatly enhanced after bouncing back from their opening-day loss at West Brom with a fluid display. The Reds deservedly twice led through Martin Skrtel and Suarez but defensive errors allowed Yaya Toure and, 10 minutes from time, Carlos Tevez to equalise.
Defender Jose Enrique, who came on as a second-half substitute, was also impressed by Sterling's display, which came after the teenager was given 90 minutes in last Thursday's Europa League qualifier against Hearts.
The Spaniard said: "I think he did well the last two games for us and he worked really hard in pre-season. I don't have to tell you, everyone knows the qualities he has. He is amazing, one v one he is amazing.
"He has everything but we have to be quiet with him.
"He is still young, 17 years old. There are too many things to do yet but if he continues like this and listens to us, and of course to more from the manager, he can learn a lot, he has the qualities."
- Raheem Sterling