Thursday 5 December 2019

Platini: Rodgers has explaining to do to Liverpool fans

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

Martyn Ziegler

UEFA president Michel Platini says Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers needs to explain his team selection against Real Madrid to the fans.

Rodgers incurred the wrath of some Reds supporters on social media sites when he left Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Mario Balotelli and Philippe Coutinho out of the starting line-up, with an eye on the weekend's Premier League encounter with Chelsea.

Champions League rules state clubs must field their strongest sides but UEFA is not considering any action. Platini pointed out Liverpool only lost 1-0 in Spain last night compared to an apparently stronger line-up losing 3-0 at Anfield.

Platini, speaking on his first visit to St George's Park, England's national football centre in Burton-on-Trent, said: "First of all he has to explain to his fans why he put this team - not to me, not to you.

"Are you sure it was not the best team? How can I say that? The coach of Liverpool, if I say something, he'll say, 'Oh, Michel Platini, I put my best team of the moment.' And I would be stupid.

"If I am the coach of Liverpool I say, 'It's my best team. How you can prove it's not your best team?' I can't interfere with that.

"I think we give a lot of money to the national associations, to the clubs to have their best teams. But they want to win, everybody, because there is the prize money, there is many things. The best team is what the coach put."

Platini also joked Liverpool may have played a weakened team in the match at Anfield a fortnight ago.

He added when asked about the selection for the starting XI at the Bernabeu: "That is a good thing, because they put a better team now! Why they don't change 15 days before when they lost 3-0?

"You accuse the coach not to have put his best team 15 days ago? I cannot say to that. It's the problem of the coach, it's not my problem."

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