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Lineker doesn't understand management, says Rodgers

ESPN staff
November 5, 2014
Ancelotti: We didn't need to play with intensity

Brendan Rodgers has hit back at Gary Lineker after the Match of the Day pundit claimed he "threw in the towel" at Real Madrid with a team selection "unbefitting of Liverpool".

Lineker questioned Rodgers on Twitter after he rested Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson for the 1-0 defeat at the Bernabeu, making eight changes to his starting line-up seemingly with one eye on Saturday's visit of Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Rodgers, however, believes his squad players more than validated his controversial team selection. Asked for a response to Lineker's criticism, he said: "Gary is a figure who I respect and was a top player in his day but he's never been a manager so he has never truly understood what it is like in terms of picking players.

"I respect his opinion but I think the words were played out by my team. The performance was far from throwing the white towel in.

"Right to the very end my players put in a performance befitting of the wonderful club this is. That would be my answer.''

Rodgers also warned those who had been rested that they were not guaranteed a return against Chelsea at Anfield.

"I have to put my trust in the squad because we brought a lot of players in during the summer,'' said Rodgers, who has spent over £100 million on nine signings since the end of last season.

Brendan Rodgers has defended his controversial team selection © Getty Images

"I thought the players were outstanding; Kolo Toure and Lucas Leiva was excellent, Adam Lallana got better as the game went on and Fabio Borini showed his intensity at the top of the field.

"It gave me great food for thought and all those who weren't playing last night doesn't necessarily mean they will play against Chelsea.''

Gerrard and Sterling eventually came on as second-half substitutes, and Rodgers said his absentees had taken his decision in their stride.

"The players were fine, there was no issue. They all understood and respected the choice,'' he said.

"There is a squad to use and I am very fortunate I have a group of honest players and they know a name is irrelevant to me - it is not about big names being left out, it is about players playing well whether they are young or old.

"I spoke to Steven over a week ago and told him my plan for the next number of games and he is a true professional.''

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