Liverpool Boss Brendan Rodgers Slammed For Fielding “Weakened” Side


Brendan Rodgers – Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Say what you will about Brendan Rodgers, but the man certainly has balls. Leaving your best players on the bench against the defending champions, then praising them after for only losing 1-0 is as gutsy as it gets.

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Rodgers upset many Liverpool supporters on Tuesday, while resting key players (Gerrard, Sterling, Balotelli, Lovren) before an all-important Premier League match is understandable, others may not see it that way.

Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol — who voiced his opinion on talkSPORT’s Extra Time radio show —  claimed that Rodgers is under immense pressure, and alienated many fans with Tuesday’s decision.

"“What we’ve seen is a manager who is under a lot of pressure, this is someone whose side last year were so good and just couldn’t do wrong. Now we’re seeing a manager who is not quite sure how to fix. He’s making decisions which are beginning to look, to anyone on the outside, like he’s really struggling”"

Liverpool showed lots of promise last season, also making it back into the Champions League after being out for a few years. Sadly, they were undone by one transfer, losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona was a major blow. Daniel Sturridge’s injury problems made things much worse.

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Rodgers went out and signed a good few players during the summer, but the team has shown no improvement whatsoever. Tottenham suffered a similar fate last season, after losing Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, the club spent a huge amount to bring six players in; that didn’t go well, as they missed out on Champions League qualification.

Nicol continued.

"“What he did, against Real Madrid, is put a lot of fans against him. The owners will persevere with him. I don’t think, by any strength of the imagination, he won’t be there at the end of the season, but he’s alienated a lot of fans.”"

The ex-defender was by no means impressed with Rodgers’ tactics or post-game comments. The manager said his team was “excellent,” and said that his team selection was justified, much to Nicol’s annoyance.

"“I’m not happy with the side he started [against Real Madrid] but I’m angrier with what he said after the game. To come out and say his team was superb is mind-blowing. He had the audacity to come out and say they were superb, having had one shot on goal. I’d love to know who he was praising. The man of the match was Simon Mignolet. Emre Can was a disgrace, he didn’t get out of trot. Lazar Markovic looked lightweight at best and was man handled every time he touched the ball. Javi Manquillo was chasing Marcelo’s number all night."

The manager’s honesty was also put on the spot.

"“This was a team he put out which had no chance of winning the game. He knew that. Why wasn’t he just honest? He could have said, ‘I didn’t think we could win against Real Madrid. We are better off trying to win the game against Chelsea. I’m putting a side out which will try and compete but that’s why I’m doing it’. Everyone, whether they liked it or not, would understand it.”"

Nicol’s feelings are understandable. I agree that Rodgers knew he couldn’t beat such a strong Madrid side with the players he selected. I also think that he should respect the tournament, this is the biggest and most illustrious club competition in the world. Players deserve to play the very best of opponents, and supporters deserve to see the best players give their all every match.

Rodgers could be vindicated if his team beats Chelsea this weekend, but till then he can’t blame anyone for being displeased with his decision.

Quotes courtesy of