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Platini: Rodgers needs to explain Madrid team selection

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

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 Saturday's Premier League encounter with Chelsea.

Champions League rules state clubs must field their strongest sides but UEFA is not considering any action. Platini (pictured right) 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."

Meanwhile, defender Kolo Toure claims being written off against Real Madrid was just the motivation Liverpool's fringe players needed to prove they can provide viable alternatives for Rodgers.

Toure made his first start in anything other than the Capital One Cup since February and did a more than adequate job of restricting free-scoring forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who was denied the goal which would have seen him equal Raul's Champions League record tally of 71.

He may have played himself into contention to face Jose Mourinho's side at Anfield on Saturday and based on his display could displace Dejan Lovren who has looked anything but convincing since his £20million summer move from Southampton.

"People were saying we had no chance against Real Madrid but that gave us motivation," said Ivory Coast international Toure.

"When you don't play a lot and a manager gives you a chance to show what you can do you give everything you have got. That is what happened and that's the way we need to play in every game now. We all showed the manager we will fight.

"I know we lost but I am very happy because we played a really good game.

"At end of the day everyone worked hard and showed so much determination. We had a lot of players out there who haven't played many games this season but we showed what a good squad we have."


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