Brendan Rodgers has revealed that part of the reason he changed most of the Liverpool team to face Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League was to avoid the risk of a Steven Gerrard injury.
The Reds skipper is now 34 years of age, and his fitness needs to be managed – something Rodgers says the media and fans could not have known.
“Managers up and down the country are dealing in the reality of being a manager,” the Anfield coach told Sky Sports.
“It is not fantasy football, it is not on sentiment or on a computer. When we are picking teams we are dealing with the reality of players and their physical condition and tactics going into the game.
“It was probably hard for you guys. You are probably not privy to some of the information that I have in relation to the team.
“You probably would not have known that Steven (Gerrard) had a scan on his hamstring on the Monday before we travelled out.
“But it was always in the plan (for Gerrard to be rested), with where he was at in terms of his games.
“But those players who did play certainly did not do themselves any harm. I thought they performed very, very well against a top class side.”
Of course Liverpool host Chelsea this weekend, and we can only hope that Rodgers’ plan has paid off.
Ideally, the rested players have recovered fitness and are champing at the bit, while those who featured in the Spanish capital will once again want to prove themselves.
A good performance against Chelsea could really be a turning point in our season.