Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been criticised left, right and centre for his team selection against Real Madrid in midweek.
The Reds boss fielded a much-weakened team for the Champions League Group B clash against the Spanish giants at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.
The likes of Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli all started the match on the substitutes’ bench, as Liverpool suffered a 1-0 defeat.
Rodgers’s decision to select a largely second-string side has been widely condemned, but former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has tried to make some sense of it.
‘Javier Manquillo instead of Glen Johnson?’, he wrote in The Daily Mail. ‘I could understand that. Manquillo has been Liverpool’s best right back this season.
‘Kolo Toure for Dejan Lovren? Again, no problem. Lovren’s erratic form meant he didn’t deserve to be picked.
‘Fabio Borini for Mario Balotelli? No issue there. Borini covered more ground in one game than Balotelli had done in 10.
‘The absence of Philippe Coutinho didn’t bother me, either, as he can’t be trusted to deliver in big away games. Those players who came in all deserve to start against Chelsea…
‘Yet what I couldn’t fathom were the omissions of Steven Gerrard (Rodgers’s captain), Jordan Henderson (his vice-captain) and the best attacker, Raheem Sterling.
‘Those three, along with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, were the reason they came so close to winning the title and returned to Europe’s elite. After their efforts last season, they deserved to start in the Bernabeu’.
Rodgers ‘rested’ some of his key players to keep them fresh for Saturday’s Premier League clash against league leaders Chelsea at Anfield.
If Liverpool fail to win this match…