The Reds boss was seen by many to have fielded a weakened team against the European champions in order to focus more on the upcoming game with Chelsea.
“I put out the best team on Tuesday that could get a result. My players were magnificent, I think the criticism is a disservice to them," Rodgers told reporters at a pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with table-toppers Chelsea.
“We had a game plan against the best team in the world right now, to stay in the game, control. We then opened up the game with the subs.
“The idea was to be in the game still after 65 minutes, which we did, then use Steven’s passing ability, Raheem’s pace and Coutinho’s creativity.
“I was very proud of the players and the supporters — over 4,000 of them there giving the team a great backing. The criticism is unfair. To call Kolo Toure, Lucas Leiva or Adam Lallana a “reserve”? Those players deserve more praise than that.
“I know in my heart that I make decisions in the best interest of Liverpool FC. The performance spoke louder than any words I can say."