Liverpool played our best team against Real Madrid, insists Rodgers

The Reds boss was criticised for dropping the likes of Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling for their visit to the Santiago Bernabeu but is angry at the side being called “reserves”

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is adamant that he “put out the best team” against Real Madrid on Tuesday.

The Northern Irishman raised eyebrows with his team selection for the Champions League clash, dropping a number of first-team regulars to the bench as the Reds lost 1-0.

Rodgers, who revealed that captain Steven Gerrard had undergone a scan a day before the match, insists that he set up his side to win.

“I put out the best team on Tuesday that could get a result,” he told the press. “My players were magnificent; I think the criticism is a disservice to them.

“We had a game plan against the best team in the world right now, to stay in the game, [in] control. We then opened up the game with the subs.

“The idea was to be in the game still after 65 minutes, which we did, then use Steven’s passing ability, Raheem [Sterling]’s pace and [Philippe] Coutinho’s creativity.

“I was very proud of the players and the supporters – over 4,000 of them there giving the team a great backing. The criticism is unfair. To call Kolo Toure, Lucas Leiva or Adam Lallana a ‘reserve’? Those players deserve more praise than that.

“I know in my heart that I make decisions in the best interest of Liverpool. The performance spoke louder than any words I can say.”

Liverpool host unbeaten leaders Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday but continue to be without Daniel Sturridge (calf), who was not fit enough for an England call-up on Thursday.

“Daniel Sturridge was out on the field with the rehab team today but he’s still a way off returning,” explained Rodgers.

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