Champions League

Platini calls out Rodgers

2014-11-05 20:19
Brendan Rodgers (Supplied)
Brendan Rodgers (Supplied)

Burton-on-Trent - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers should explain to supporters why he fielded a weakened team against Real Madrid in the Champions League, UEFA president Michel Platini said on Wednesday.

Fans reacted with horror on social medial after Rodgers left stars such as Steven Gerrard and Mario Balotelli on the bench for Tuesday's Group B match against the holders at the Bernabeu, ahead of a key Premier League fixture against Chelsea.

But Liverpool's second string produced a battling display, losing 1-0 to a Karim Benzema goal, and Platini believes the only people Rodgers must answer to are the club's supporters.

"Are you sure it was not the best team? How can I say that?" Platini asked after a tour of the England national team's St George's Park headquarters in central England.

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

"Now the best team is what the coach put. First of all he has to explain to his fans why he put this team -- not to me, not to you."

The Champions League's statutes state that clubs must always field their strongest possible team, but it is understood that Liverpool will not face action from European governing body UEFA.

Platini also said he understood world governing body FIFA's decision to omit controversial former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez from its shortlist for the 2014 Ballon d'Or award.

Uruguay striker Suarez scored 31 Premier League goals for Liverpool last season before joining Barcelona, but he was banned for four months after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in Brazil.

"If the Ballon d'Or is on the quality of the player, then naturally he deserves to be on the list," said Platini, who won three Ballons d'Or as a goal-scoring midfielder for Juventus in the 1980s.

"But if you consider the player's behaviour, that creates a little problem. This is a guy who was suspended for four months by FIFA.

"If the Ballon d'Or is a question of behaviour, then I agree that he should not be on the list."

The winner of this year's Ballon d'Or will be announced during a ceremony in Zurich in January.


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