Brendan Rodgers has hit back at his critics for fielding a weakened team in the Champions League clash against Real Madrid, insisting he is ‘not really bothered’ with what people have to say.
Plenty have offered their opinion on Roidgers decision to leave the likes of Raheem Sterling, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Mario Balotelli and Philippe Coutinho on the bench for the clash at the Bernabeu, including Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker.
The former England striker tweeted when the team was released prior to kick off last night: “Rodgers has left out [Jordan] Henderson, Sterling, [Mario] Balotelli, Gerrard and [Philippe] Coutinho at Real Madrid. He has, though, thrown in a white towel.
“Selecting a weakened side in Europe’s premier competition, especially against Real Madrid, is unbefitting of a club of Liverpool’s stature. If I were one of Liverpool’s star players, I’d be choked to be left out of a game at the Bernabeu against the European champions.”
The Liverpool boss responded in his post match press conference: “I didn’t see this as a big showcase game where I had to play the so-called names.
“It might have seemed a gamble but for me it wasn’t.
“I think the performance says the words. Gary is a figure who I respect and was a top player in his day but he’s never been a manager, so he has never truly understood what it is like in terms of picking players.
“I respect his opinion but I think the words were played out by my team. The performance was far from throwing the white towel in. Right to the very end my players put in a performance befitting of the wonderful club this is. That would be my answer.”
Rodgers was accused of resting his players for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Chelsea, but the Northern Irishman insisted that was not the case, hinting he changed the team following a poor performance in the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle at the weekend.
“I didn’t rest players for Saturday. I picked a team that I thought could get a result. The players that came in were excellent and we were unfortunate not to get a result.”
After hearing Rodgers’s response, Lineker tweeted: “Rodgers intimating that many of his players were dropped for being awful at Newcastle rather than being rested. If that’s true, fair enough.”
“We have seven games in 21 days,” Rodgers added.
“We are trying to adapt new players into our ways of working and because we do not have as much time for training, we have to look at them and develop them in games at the moment.”