Liverpool paid a visit to the Bernabeu yesterday for the return fixture of their Champions League match against Real Madrid in a match everyone expected the Brendan Rodgers side to have gone all out to see if they can salvage a good result in order to enhance their chance of qualifying for the round of 16.
The match ending 1-0 in favour of the Los Blancos was no surprise to anyone as most expected Carlo Ancelotti side to carry the day as they have earlier trumped Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield a fortnight ago.
What was however surprising to most football followers was the team selection that Brendan decided to prosecute the match with. Liverpool’s starting XI on the night had Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure, Alberto Moreno, Javier Manquillo, Martin Skrtel, Adam Lallana, Lucas Leiva, Emre Can, Joe Allen, Lazar Markovic, and Fabio Borini.
This is a much weakened Liverpool side with up to five regulars been dropped from the team that played Newcastle in the weekend. Questions have been raised as to the reason behind Rodgers’ decision with many suggesting Rodgers had conceded defeat before the match and thus chose to rest some of his regulars like Gerrard, Sterling, Courtinho, Balotelli and Henderson for the game against Chelsea on Saturday.
Brendan Rodgers has however come out to explain his reasons for the selection chief of them being the awful performance of some of the players against Newcastle.
“This is what happens, I’m not worried at all – as the coach and manager you are open to criticism whether it is deserved or not – I do not worry what people think or say, I worry about my players. This was my idea. The supporters backed us brilliantly. Rodgers said.
“I go with my gut feeling and that was that the performance on Saturday was not as good as what we wanted. We have seven games in 21 days and because we cannot train so much we have to develop in the games. I did not see this as the big showpiece game where we have to play the big names.”
The manager went further, “Tonight gives me food for thought. It was not players rested as such, we played a team to get the result and we nearly did get the result.
“We have not been consistent enough to have guaranteed starters. I had to change the team after the performance against Newcastle. I have to show trust as a coach and a manager and now we have to be focused on Chelsea and pick a team to win that game.”
The manager may have taken a lot of flakes for last night’s selection, but his reasons can be justified if the decision was truly made with the Chelsea game in mind as the manager alluded to in his post match reaction.
Every supporter would want their team to always go out with their best legs and fight even when the chance of winning are slim and Liverpool fans are no exception.
Yesterday’s selection did not show Liverpool was ready for the fight, but the manager didn’t just throwing in the white flag, rather his selection was purely based on a team he felt could give him result bearing in mind that some of the regulars have been putting in below per performances in recent game.
And the guys selected did put up a good showing giving a good account of themselves and it would only be Kareem Benzema’s lone strike that separated the two sides at the end of proceedings.