Rodgers Defends His Team Selection
09 November 2012
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has slammed his critics for suggesting he got his team selection wrong last night.
Rodgers picked a team with an average age of just under 24, with nine Englishmen and a debutant in young defender Conor Coady, for Liverpool’s tough Europa League trip to Russia to face Anzhi Makhachkala.
The slog across Europe to face Samuel Eto’o and co would have tested even Liverpool’s first-string, most of whom were left at home to watch the match on television in preparation for their weekend Premier League clash with Chelsea .
As it happened, Liverpool’s second-stringers only lost to Lacina Traore’s well-taken goal, and Rodgers was satisfied with their performance.
Asked whether he regretted leaving his big-name players at home, Rodgers said: "Not at all. I think that is a little disrespectful to the players who are here.
"They have been magnificent and I thought they did really well and we just got punished for a mistake. That led to us losing the game but I don't think it was anything to do with [Luis] Suarez, [Steven] Gerrard, Joe Allen, Martin Skrtel or Daniel Agger not being here.
"It was just one of those things. We will take it as a team, we are disappointed but there are so many positives from tonight.''
Liverpool may not have been swashbuckling, but they largely neutralised Anzhi on a bumpy pitch, until Traore hit them with a sucker punch on the stroke of half time.
But with the Reds still well-placed in their group, Rodgers has sought to minimise the significance of last night’s defeat,
"It was a mistake late on in the half. We just have to do that better at defending it once he (Traore) has turned. That is something the players involved know themselves so it is nothing they need to be told,” he said.
"I thought the performance level was good on a difficult pitch but I thought the players played the system tactically very well. We just find ourselves unfortunate not to get something from a very difficult place.''
Rodgers now turns his attention to Sunday’s clash with the Blues at Stamford Bridge, when you can be sure Liverpool’s heavy hitters will be back in action.