Real Madrid had an easy day at the office, as a solitary goal from Benzema in the first half was enough to beat Liverpool in one of the famous champions league night on Tuesday. However, the truth to be told Liverpool lost the match an hour before the game had started.
With key players such as Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Mario Balotelli and Philippe Coutinho being absent from the starting line-up, the intentions from Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was particularly clear.
With Liverpool currently lying seventh in the league table, having secured only 14 points from the opening 10 games, clearly Rodgers as placed the league ahead of the Champions League in the pecking order. Besides, seeing the way the defending European champions walked past Liverpool in the previous group stage match (when Real beat Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield), Liverpool manager lost his faith in the match and rested his key players for the important one against Chelsea on Saturday.
The only thing which Brendan failed to understand is Liverpool may not be one of the best teams currently in Europe, but the history suggests that the Merseyside outfit have won more UCL crowns then any other team in England. Hence the shocking team selection would have left the traveling fans as well as the viewers from various part of the world disappointed.
The fans would have wanted Liverpool to exact the revenge at Santiago Bernabau for their previous group stage defeat, especially considering the fact that Liverpool won their previous visit to the Bernabau under then manager Rafael Benitez in 2009. However, seeing the team line-up not many would have given hope for the team.
Gary Lineker, former England player did not take it lightly as he went on twitter to criticize the manager by saying that Brendan threw in the towel at Madrid with a team selection unbefitting of Liverpool. Also Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho echoed the same view by saying that he will not go to play in a game if he feels that he will not win it.
Anfield is always remembered for the great European nights, when the crowd plays a great part in the team making the impossible possible. If Rodgers places the league ahead of the Champions league, then the fans cannot enjoy many Anfield nights this season, as they are on the verge of elimination from the group stage after losing three on the run. Liverpool need to win their remaining two matches if they have any chance to qualify from the group.
Moreover, Steven Gerrard having retired from International football would have definitely wanted to start the game at one of the coveted grounds in the world of football, but siting in the bench might not have pleased the Liverpool skipper. With Liverpool on the brink of elimination from the group stage and seeing the way the team is playing in the league, the Reds from Mersyside may not return to the competition anytime sooner. Hence, this could be the last time Gerrard might start a match at Santiago Bernabau, but the controversial team selection might have ended his dreams.
Image courtesy of independent.co.uk