I was as surprised as anyone by Brendan’s decision to rest seven key players for a trip to the Bernabeu in midweek.
If – as he hinted – the wholesale changes were brought about by the horrific performance at St James’ Park, then fair play. Well done. Brave decision.
If it was to keep his players fresh for the weekend’s visit of Chelsea, then his actions are simply unacceptable for a Liverpool manager.
What is most frustrating about his decision, was that it has simply invited more media scrutiny on the club – something that has been a frequent occurance for us this season.
There seems to have been a new scandal every week.
Club versus country rows over Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling, Mario Balotelli and his shirt swapping antics, and now Brendan’s ‘disrespectful’ team selection.
No wonder the team’s performances have been so poor this season with so much going on in the background, and now the boss has contributed directly to more press attention.
The only way Rodgers can redeem himself from his Champions League horror show in midweek, is by rewarding some of the players he has talked up so much since with a start tomorrow lunchtime – with Kolo Toure the most deserving.
Toure was outstanding in midweek, and with Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren looking like Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee for the best part of the season so far, what harm would it do to put Toure in from the start against Chelsea?
The Ivorian was harshly criticised last season for a costly mistake against West Brom and a comical own goal against Fulham.
But let us not forget he was also a starter in two of the Reds best performances of last season – the 4-0 win over Everton and the 5-1 win over Arsenal. He also provided assists in both games.
His attitude and passion for the cause cannot be questioned either, whilst he has all the experience and credentials of a top centre back.
He has waited patiently for a chance, and produced a superb performance against arguably the best attack in the world. After Rodgers preaching about giving those players in form an opportunity, it would be the ultimate show of hypocricy to leave Toure out of the starting line up tomorrow.
Javier Manquillo is also someone who should be given an opportunity from the start tomorrow. The 20-year-old has looked one of our better summer signings, and performed well up against Cristiano Ronaldo and co on Tuesday.
And for anyone who witnessed Glen Johnson’s horrific performance against Newcastle last weekend, it is clear to everyone that the Spaniard is the man playing the better of our two right full backs.
You could argue a case for Lucas Leiva being given a go from the start tomorrow after a decent display in midweek – certainly the best he has produced since his injury struggles. But Rodgers looks set to stick with his midfield three of Gerrard, Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson, who was so sorely missed in the corresponding fixture last term.
The other player from midweek who warrants a turn from the start is Fabio Borini. The Italian was excellent in the Capital One Cup victory over Swansea, and looked lively when brought off the bench against Newcastle.
He was given a graveyard shift on Tuesday evening, playing as a lone striker away to the best side in Europe, but yet still managed to cover more ground than Balotelli has probably managed all season.
One thing you can’t help but admire about Borini is his self confidence and his attitude. Having been let go as a Chelsea youth team player – despite breaking goal scoring records at Stamford Bridge – you feel he would relish the opportunity to prove a point in front of a passionate Anfield crowd.
Whether Rodgers opts to stick with the 4-2-3-1, or go with two up top – Borini should be given an opportunity from the start.
In order to prove that Tuesday night’s selection antics and the drama that has followed was all worthwhile, Rodgers must show actions speak louder than words with starting places for those players he claimed were so outstanding in Spain.
Because let’s face it, it’s not as if the ones they replaced have been doing much better lately is it?
Who would you start for tomorrow’s game with Chelsea? Toure? Manquillo? Borini? Lucas? Let us know your thoughts below.