Steven Gerrard's former teammate Dietmar Hamann believes the Liverpool captain won't have been pleased with Brendan Rodgers after starting on the bench in the 1-0 Champions League defeat at Real Madrid.
Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has admitted he was left bewildered at Brendan Rodgers’ decision to omit Steven Gerrard from the starting XI for the 1-0 Champions League defeat at Real Madrid.
Following the 3-0 defeat to Real at Anfield a fortnight ago, manager Rodgers opted to make seven changes to his line-up from the weekend’s loss at Newcastle United, with captain Gerrard, Mario Balotelli, Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho, Glen Johnson and Jordan Henderson all left on the bench, and Dejan Lovren not even among the substitutes.
The Northern Irishman fastily denied his team selection was made with a view to Saturday’s home clash against Chelsea, however, telling ITV pre-match: 'I think we've got a strong team out for the game.
'We're certainly not forfeiting the game in any way, we've got nine full internationals playing and two Under-21 internationals, so we've actually got a strong team.’
Liverpool put in a better performance than expected with the likes of Javier Manquillo, Lucas Leiva and Fabio Borini drafted in to face a team in the midst of an 11-game winning-streak, but Hamann believes the inclusion of Gerrard could have seen them get a result, and thinks the skipper won’t have been pleased about having to settle for a 20-minute cameo in such an enormous matchup.
‘It would be interesting to know if [Rodgers] did speak to his captain to leave him out,’ he told Sky Sports. ‘Because I can imagine he wasn’t too impressed because you’re not sure if they will get in the top four this season, so it may have been the last time he goes to the Bernabeu.
‘To play there is the ultimate experience, so it would be interesting to know whether he did speak to him before the game, or even ask him whether he is OK with leaving him out.’
Nevertheless, Hamann, who was Gerrard's teammate on the 2005 Champions League winning-side, added that the experience would have been vital to some of the younger members of the side who started at the Bernabeu, and insists they can take heart from their showing.
‘Rodgers thought they are going to Madrid and are going to get beat anyway,’ he said. ‘You may say it’s negative, but you give them [the younger players] a run out, give them a bit of confidence, which they got by that defeat – they can leave the Bernabeu with their heads held high.’