Liverpool FC boss Brendan Rodgers has come under fierce criticism after seven of his regular starters were dropped from the starting line-up against Real Madrid.
Liverpool lost the away game 1-0, but the performance of his squad players was praised as the visitors held Los Blancos after they went ahead in the first half.
But his critics were many and among those was Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, whose team visits Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday. Mourinho said,”I don’t speak about Liverpool. I speak about myself. If one day I go to a game and I don’t feel I can win, maybe I don’t go. Normally, against the most difficult opponents, normally I will try to go with my best team.”
Rodgers was questioned on the matter in the pre-match conference and defended his selection firlmy
“I put out the best team that I thought could get a result,” he said.
“And I think my players were absolutely magnificent on the night. There has been a bit of criticism that has gone about over the selection of the team, but I think that is a disservice to the team, and the players that played.
“We went into a game against the best team in the world at the moment, and the idea was to make sure we stayed in the game for 60-65 minutes, control as much of the game as we can, even without the ball, and then in that last 20-25 minutes open up the game with the quality of Steven Gerrard’s passing and Raheem Sterling’s speed and Philippe Coutinho’s creativity.
“And that’s how it sort of worked out for us. Unfortunately, towards the end we couldn’t get a goal. But I was proud of the players, as were the supporters. There were more than 4,000 there who gave the team great backing.
“I don’t look so much into it. Any criticism is part of what you must take as a manager. I just felt it was unfair on the players. To call Kolo Toure a reserve, or Lucas Leiva, or Adam Lallana is unfair. Those boys put in great performances on the evening, and deserved praise as opposed to criticism.”
Rodgers went on to say that any decisions he will take as Liverpool manager will be done in the club’s best interests.
“It doesn’t affect me, whether it is good or bad,” he said.
“I know in my heart that I always make decisions here that are in the best interests of Liverpool Football Club. That’s what we did the other night. I think the performance spoke as loud as any words I could say.
“What is befitting of this club is that we keep it at the highest possible level it can be. For me, that is about fighting first and foremost domestically, and also aligned to that is European football, which is where the history of this club was formed. After a five-year absence at that level, it is important to retain our position. That’s what we’re striving to do.”