The visitors made the breakthrough inside 10 minutes when new signing Daniel Sturridge raced onto Jonjo Shelvey’s through pass and tucked his finish under Alan Marriott.
Rodgers’ men doubled their lead through substitute Suárez, who was left with a simple tap-in after an inconspicuous use of the hand to guide the ball into his path.
The Blue Square Premier outfit did manage to net a late goal after Matt Green scrambled the ball past stand-in Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones to ensure a nervy end for the Reds.
“I’ve just seen it [Suárez’s goal] again. There’s no doubt it was handball. Obviously the referee and officials didn’t think it was deliberate – which it wasn’t,” Rodgers told ESPN.
“I spoke to the fourth official after the goal was given, and I asked if it was handball, and he said it was. So I can only assume the officials didn’t think it was deliberate. It’s unfortunate for Mansfield but we were lucky we got the goal.
When asked if Suárez should have told referee Andre Marriner that it was a handball, Rodgers added: “It doesn’t really happen in football. It’s not Luis’ job to do that. He’s gone in there and it’s bounced off his hand. It’s up to the officials.”
Rodgers was also pleased with Liverpool’s character after the Reds held on to secure victory as Mansfield threw men forward in search of a late equaliser at Field Mill.
“It was a difficult game,” he added.
“Two sides who very much contrasted in terms of how they played, but two very competitive teams. As I said, you’re always thankful to get through because you’ve seen big teams lose [these types of ties].
“But it was brilliant character from my players and we’ve shown that in abundance this year.”
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