Rodgers defended his decision by telling reporters: “We knew we had a real tough game tonight, but I didn’t rest players for Saturday. I picked what I thought could maybe – on the back on Saturday’s game against Newcastle – get the result for us tonight, and I think the performance showed that."
And, for all the criticism, it seems the Liverpool boss got his team selection right.
What good would playing the likes of Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and more have done if they couldn't beat Real Madrid at Anfield? The game would have simply been more open and the Reds would have been 3-0 down by half-time again.
Rodgers has made many, many mistakes this season but it appears this team selection was spot on. He sent a message to the players: that Saturday's performance - like so many others this term - just wasn't good enough.
And former Tottenham, England & Barcelona boss Venables says it's something former Man United boss Ferguson and current Chelsea coach Mourinho would have done all the time.
"It’s exactly what Sir Alex Ferguson did many times at Manchester United (even with ‘untouchable’ Wayne Rooney) and it’s exactly what Jose Mourinho isn’t afraid to do at Chelsea," he wrote in his column for the London Evening Standard.
"In my book, it proves Rodgers has what it takes to be a truly great coach. Don’t think for one second the Liverpool coach went to Madrid to lay down and die: he also is under the spotlight. He wanted to leave the Bernabeu with his head held high.
"Rodgers strikes me as a highly ambitious young coach, who may even have designs on moving to bigger clubs than Liverpool."