Five things learned from Liverpool's defeat to Real Madrid

A round-up of five things we discovered during Liverpool's 1-0 Champions League loss against Real Madrid.

Changes could help Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers' decision to play a number of fringe players against Real Madrid may have been heavily criticised, but he is likely to have learned more from that performance than any other this season.

Liverpool stood strong against the might of Madrid and actually put in one of their better displays this season, despite the defeat. 

It has given Rodgers a few selection dilemmas and he now knows that some of his lower-profile players are able to perform in big matches for him. 

Liverpool look better without Gerrard

Much has been made of Steven Gerrard's future at Liverpool in recent weeks, with his contract expiring in the summer.

The central midfielder has been a talismanic figure for the club for so many years now that the thought of him plying his trade away from Anfield is a strange one.

It may be one that Rodgers had to consider, though. The Northern Irish manager says that Gerrard won't be kept at the club on sentiment and it seems that they may be stronger without him.

The energy of Emre Can, Lucas and Joe Allen in the centre of the pitch enabled Liverpool to limit Real's attacking threat and the perpetual pressing from the trio means they could be a better combination than any involving Gerrard.

Toure can still perform

Toure may be ageing, but his performance last night proved that he can still play a role for the side.

The Ivorian has been rather clumsy since joining Liverpool, but this was his finest performance for the club so far.

Borini a better option than Balotelli

Fabio Borini's performance was a refreshing change from what Mario Balotelli has offered during his time at Anfield so far.

Borini may have been isolated, but his desire to help his team out was obvious and his work-rate put his teammate to shame.

Rodgers' teams are built on the speed of their attacks and Borini seems more suited to that style than Balotelli.

Too often the £16 million striker has looked happy to be on the periphery of games and Borini showed last night he may be a better option for a run in the team. 

Chelsea game being targeted

Rodgers may be adamant that he didn't rest his team with one eye on the Reds' Premier League fixture against Chelsea, but he is clearly targeting that match.

The Blues have looked brilliant throughout the season so far and Liverpool will have to be at their very best to beat them this weekend.

However, with Chelsea playing tonight and Jose Mourinho likely to pick a strong team, Rodgers' men should be the fresher team, though, and they will be looking to make that count on Saturday. 

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