Media ‘disrespectful’ to my players, says Liverpool boss

Liverpool chief Brendan Rodgers believes that the way his team that faced Real Madrid on Tuesday has been branded ‘weakened’ is disrespectful.

The Reds manager opted to rest a number of key first-team stars for the clash at the Bernabeu, including captain Steven Gerrard, youngster Raheem Sterling, Mario Balotelli and Jordan Henderson.

Although they slipped to a 1-0 loss, the ‘back-up’ side performed admirably well, and could have nicked a result against the reigning European champions – who, in truth, dominated large periods of the game.

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Rodgers’ call was said to be based on his side’s lunchtime clash with Chelsea on Saturday, with the Northern Irishman desperate to get a result against the unbeaten league leaders as he plots to get a top four charge back on track.

The Anfield chief, however, says that his XI against Real was not a weak one and that such claims are not fair to players such as Adam Lallana, Kolo Toure and Lucas:

“I put out the best team that I thought could get a result,” he is quoted by The Express. “My players were magnificent. I know there is a little bit of criticism about the selection, but it does a disservice to the players who played.

“We went into a game against the best team in the world at the moment with a plan and the idea was to make sure we stayed in the game and then in the last 20-25 minutes open up the game.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t get a goal, but I was proud of the players as were the supporters. You take criticism as a manager, but for the players I didn’t think it was fair.

“To call Kolo Toure a reserve or Lucas Leiva or Adam Lallana a reserve player … I felt they deserved more praise.”