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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hinted that he opted to shake up his team for the Champions League game

 

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hinted that he opted to shake up his team for the Champions League game against Real Madrid as a response to last Saturday’s Premier League defeat at Newcastle.

Captain Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho were among those left on the bench by Rodgers as his side went down to a 1-0 defeat, with the Liverpool boss suggesting the players he picked justified their place in his line-up given the poor form of his regular first choice starters.

“Most people read into names on a team sheet, but I have to manage a squad that has seven games in 21 days and on the back of the result at Newcastle, I picked a team that I felt could get a result for us,” he told Sky Sports.

“The performance showed that and we were unfortunate not to get a result against the leading team in the world at the moment.”

Rodgers was then asked whether he felt his side could have got a result if he had started with the likes of Gerrard and Sterling and he offered this response:

“We might have lost 5-0 [if he started with those missing players],” he stated. “We are certainly not a team on the back of five or six wins and my selection is made easy because of performance level. That hasn’t been the case at all and I don’t think any other players would have put in the performance we put in.

“We saw the level of their game when they came to Anfield and we knew this would be a huge task for us. We take confidence from the performance level and we take that into Saturday.

“We will stay overnight here, prepare well, train here tomorrow and get ready for the game on Saturday. That is going to be a big game for us.”

Adam Lallana made an impressive impact in the heart of the midfield battle, with the England midfielder hoping his display allows him to hang onto his place in the Liverpool team for the game against Chelsea this weekend.

“We have a big squad and we were all out there trying to prove we deserved to stay in the team for the weekend,” said Lallana. “We have another big game with Chelsea at home. Hopefully we have done that, but the main thing was the result and we are disappointed to go away with nothing.

“The manager has brought players in and he is confident they are good enough to perform at the level required in the competitions we are in. We know we just have to dig in and we will be doing that on Saturday.”

Lallana’s satisfaction in his own performance was diluted by the reality that Liverpool lost once again against Real Madrid and are left with just three points from their opening four Champions League games.

“We said at half-time if the game stayed at 1-0, we would have every chance of getting back in to it,” he added. “We had a couple of half-chances and we were in it until the last minute.

“We knew this would be a difficult place to come, but we are still in this competition. We know we have to win our last two games, but we are confident that we are capable of achieving it.

“We have a tough game away at Ludogorets and then we have Basel at Anfield. Two tough games, but they are the games you want to be involved in.”

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