Brendan Rodgers took plenty of flak for Liverpool's team selection, but was there a reason behind it?
Brendan Rodgers caused a stir with his team selection for Liverpool against Real Madrid, fielding an under-strength side at the Bernabeu.
The 1-0 loss was to the player's credit, but this should not have been a talking point - for Liverpool's fans expect to win games, and not to aim not to get beat heavily.
Against a side as talented as Real Madrid it was a dangerous selection which could easily have backfired, and gave the impression ahead of the game that Liverpool were waving the white flag, with Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard among those left out.
Match of the Day host Gary Lineker suggested on Twitter after the game that there may have been another reason for the team selection, off the back of the weekend's 1-0 defeat to Newcastle.
Rodgers intimating that many of his players were dropped for being awful at Newcastle rather than being rested. If that's true, fair enough.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 4, 2014
It would have been a tough stance for Rodgers to take, and a real message in terms of a punishment. It's even a little harsh, with players like Gerrard and Sterling key in helping Liverpool to qualify to play against Real in the first place, not to mention self-defeating.
Liverpool face Chelsea at the weekend at Anfield, and the Reds, whichever team is selected, will be expected to have a big improvement on the display against Newcastle, against the side who cost them the Premier League title last season.