27 Feb 2015

Revealed: Rodgers explains the reason why Lovren took a penalty against Besiktas

Liverpool are out of the Europa League, and in my view, it's plainly obvious that Raheem Sterling bottled-it against Besiktas. It doesn't matter how you spin it, Sterling ducked the responsibility of taking the deciding penalty, and the Reds ultimately paid the price. Dejan Lovren - a central defender - had the guts to stand-up and be counted, but he shouldn't have been taking the penalty in the first place. Why Lovren and not Sterling? After the game, LFC boss Brendan Rodgers explained the thinking behind Lovren taking the penalty.

When asked about Lovren's penalty during his post-match interview, Rodgers told reporters:

"[Dejan] was happy to take a penalty [because] he was confident. All the penalty takers were confident. We're obviously disappointed for him, because I felt in the game he played very well."

'Confident' is the key word here, and the implication is that Sterling didn't have the confidence to take a penalty.

Given the fact he missed one against Middlesbrough earlier this season, Sterling's reluctance to step-up is moderately understandable, but that was in September, and six months is plenty of time to get over it.

By relinquishing responsibility at the most crucial point of the game, Sterling (arguably) showed that he doesn't (yet) have the mental strength to stand-up and be counted when it matters.

He may not be the best striker of the ball, but has more experience than Lovren of putting the ball in the back of the net, and with Gerrard, Balotelli, Henderson, Sturridge, and Coutinho unavailable, Sterling should've been there to pick up the slack.

He failed to do that, so why should Liverpool pay him £130k-a-week? For that obscene amount of money, the minimum expectation is guts, character, and a never-say-die attitude. Sterling gave up. It's that simple.

What would Steven Gerrard - even at the age of 20 - do in the same situation? Punk-out, or step-up to the plate?

It's all moot, though. Liverpool aren't out of the competition because Sterling refused to take a penalty; the Reds are out because the team just isn't good enough in European competition, and with the club's most experienced European performer leaving at the end of the season, that isn't likely to change anytime soon.

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98 comments:

  1. Lovren has surprised me playing in the back three. like skrtle lovren is a big tall center back that is suited to center spot in the back three and i thought we wasn't agile enough to play rcb or lcb but he has played well and although his passing isn't great at times he doesn't try short passes even when there not on like sakho.

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  2. Top, top priority for the summer transfer market should be players with genuine Champions League experience. For me that would be the n°1 criteria if I was Rodgers. Forget the policy, forget FSG's idealistic views on the matter. We are seriously lacking in that departement and next year we will be without Gerrard and most likely Kolo too.
    If we qualify for the Champions League, 2 top class players with big European experience should be the bare minimum, otherwise we'll just keep on stagnating.

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  3. No sure why you're picking on Sterling, where does it say that a player has to have the guts to take a penalty is he earns above 100 thousand a month? Don't get me wrong, I get what you're saying and I too do not think he is worth anywhere near as much at this moment in time, but the lure of such significant wages is enough to turn most people's heads. As much as we like to balabour the point when it comes to loyalty, football is more of a job than ever before and if another company offers you a better salary wouldn't you take it? The fact that Sterling may not have been confident enough to take a pressure penalty is surely understandable. Wages do not determine confidence or experience and on the day, on the spot if a player can't step up, then do we blame him?

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  4. Sterling had an awful game, he lost the ball countless times and looked disinterested in general, I am not surprised he bottled the penalty. Credit to Lovren for having the guts to step up, shame he missed the target though. I don't even think Sterling should have still been on the pitch at that point anyway, it was clear he was having a nightmare along with Sturridge yet Rodgers in his wisdom took Balotelli off instead. Rodgers has great difficulty playing 2 games in a week as his tactics and training are borne from working on a game plan all week, when he doesn't have the time to get his coaching across we tend to come unstuck. So unless he has more leaders and more real quality on the pitch we will never be able to compete in Europe, because the big boys never get a whole week to prepare for a match.

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  5. Happy we're out. Now we can concentrate on the EPL and the FA Cup. The last thing I would want is for United and Spurs to be resting while we play in a stupid competition and our players getting tired/injured.

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  6. Balotelli was not any better. In fact, it's hard to tell who was the worst player - Balotelli, Sturridge or Sterling.

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  7. RS had an awful game, in my opinion he should replace by RL not balo, for we expected to have the shot out, don't mind about DL penalty miss in auch a pressure, like jaimie says, we just not good enough to play in europe football, not yet I think.......YNWA

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  8. But it's not just a stupid competition. The winner of Europa automatically qualifies for Champions League regardless of league finish.

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  9. There weren't very many positives to take from the game, but one I saw was the solidity of our defense. Yeah we conceded, but that was just a wicked shot off a fortunate touch from Ba. If we can continue to defend like we did today without Can in the defense, I think it's finally time to give Lovren-Skrtel-Sakho a run of games and move Can into the mid with Hendo, at least while Lucas is out.


    On the flip side, I think this game made it clear that we can't afford to sacrifice the 2nd AM for a FW against better opposition. Especially if the 1 is Sterling. He just doesn't have the creativity, vision, and close control to work in that area. He needs room to run at defenders and get in behind. Even with Coutinho or Lallana as that 1 though, they're too easily overwhelmed by the 2 CM/DMs of the opposition team, even with a deeper forward like Balo today helping out.


    City probably isn't the best time to experiment, but at some point I'd like to see Coutinho and Sterling as a double AM with Balo up top. With Balo coming deep to get the ball, he'll have Coutinho to distribute and Sterling running off him behind the defensive line, with Hendo and/or the WBs in support.

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  10. I agree 100%. The best athletes in any sport thrive on the spotlight and want the pressure in the moments that matter most. They want the ball and demand the spotlight. He isn't that type of player and that isn't something you learn. It is in you and he showed who he really is tonight. It is unfortunate to see and you can argue Lovren demanded this but to me it was Sterling's kick to take by default and not taking it means he as Jamie put it, punked out.

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  11. It might not state that if some one is earning 100 thousand a month they should take a penalty. And as you said if someone is offering you higher wages from another company you would be silly not to take, but on that line of thinking if I was to offer such a wage I would expect my employee to do his job and not go "oh I don't think I can handle all that responsibility" and palm it off on to another employee from a different department (Stirling's departments prime role is to either score goals or set up goals, where as Lovren's department is to stop them, so therefore I would expect or even demand my highly over paid employee to step up and do his job). If that person is unwilling to take on such responsibilities maybe they should forgo such a high salary.

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  12. Joel Matt Murdock Hwa4:33 am, February 27, 2015

    As you mentioned that's only your view. Are you part of Liverpool coaching team that you know who was really a penalty taker? I'm not defending Sterling here, but to accuse him of bottling it without any facts to back it up is pure irresponsible!

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  13. In any walk of life ,wages is totally related to ablity and expererience.
    Clearly Sterling has nether and so cannot demand 100k a week !

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  14. If BR play his normal game it would have been different instead of trying to defence for clean shit to win a game, do the same shit in CL as well, watta small club mentality manager.

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  15. It's not the players problem, it's the quality of the manager, we did it in 2005 and won the cup with average quality players back by a top class manager. GET RAFA BACK or simone. We've heard enough of lacking the cutting edge excuses after the amount of money spends on players of ur choice. All 20 mil+ player from the transfer so far they are a failure.

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  16. Glen, Romper. Fair point. I'm not saying he's deserving of the amount it is reported he might be paid (though that, I believe, has not been finalised yet, and as such could possibly be a fabrication perpetrated by his agent) However as we know, like any business, pressure is something that the individual either has to deal with or can't, at the end of the day it boils down to the individual and his price tag or wages should not determine how 'ready' they are, otherwise why not lump the top earners at the front of the queue to take setpieces? There's no doubting that Sterling has great potential, and has shown glimpses of his ability, but in a competitive market where wages are only going to climb and young talent is a hot commodity, can we really call him a bottler and a greedy player? As we saw with Carroll, 35 million does not make him a better striker than the 21 million Suarez or even Sturridge.

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  17. I completely agree. Why would Liverpool not go for goals? Just one goal for them in the game would have meant Besiktas would have had to score 3. I'm surprised at the lack of attacking invention from the team and the fade away into defence. Liverpool are at their worst when they are trying to defend and I just don't see the point of it.

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  18. Could be the best result of the season. Tottenham and Arsenal(most likely) are out of Europe and will be fighting for 4th spot

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  19. In any business you are always looking for potential but are paid accordingly ,
    Clearly soccer players are overpaid !

    As a stricker you are paid to score goals .
    Borini flop
    Balo flop
    Lambert flop
    Origi ??
    Sterling -potential , yes still a long way to go .

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  20. Agree , cannot play 2 up front .
    It looked to much like the old Liverpool for the start of the season only the defence was much better .

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  21. Cannot see Liverpool making top 4,
    Best chance was to win Europa legue.

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  22. haha, BR crashed out of CL group stages and first knockout round of Europa League after spending what? 250mn in 3 years? Not sure if FSG will/should stick with BR after this season.

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  23. Don't, just don't . He pussied out

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  24. 3-0 down at half time, are you taking the piss! Gerard won that final for us, he lead by example and drove the team forward. Just like he did in the FA Cup win over West Ham.


    Last night, Sterling was a passenger and Sturridge had a bad game, we missed henderson in my opinion also.

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  25. Sterling doesn't want to take penalties. That's fine. Torres never took any for us, Rushie only ever took one in a shootout, Dalglish never took any for us...
    The REAL bottler here was Rodgers. It was obvious to anyone with eyes from about 30 minutes in that this tie was either going to go to a Besiktas or it was going to penalties, and history shows that the 'strikers' on the bench wouldn't be capable of scoring against this opposition if we'd played all night. Taking Balotelli off and leaving Sturridge on was the big mistake.
    If anyone got 'found out' last night, it was Sturridge and Rodgers...
    There's a 'Sturridge v Aguero' article elsewhere on the 'net... get real, Sturridge isn't on the same planet as Aguero.

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  26. No, it's not fine when a severely out of form defender is more confident than an attacker who is demanding 130K a week. I've been critical of Jaimie's representations of Sterling recently, but he's absolutely bang on here.

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  27. I agree he was strong and agile in defence and he threw in a few sliding tackles to prevent the attack. He blew few passes up front but at least he has guts unlike thar bearded woman- Sterling

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  28. I see your point here JK and I agree with you that Sterling is not nearly the player he should be, to be making that kind of money. However I am glad he wasn't in line to take a penalty because the kid just can't shoot. Everything is sidefooted. Now, better players than him have shown that accuracy is more important than power when taking a penalty but that isn't his greatest feat either. I read yesterday that Rodgers was moaning about having to play on Thursday and Saturday but simple fact of the matter is that had he not got us kicked out by Basel, we would have played on Tuesday or Wednesday too. And yesterday we just didn't show up for the game. You know when you go to Turkey holding a narrow 1-0 lead that it will be tough but you can't play counter attack against the Turks trying to keep a clean sheet. We should have played our possession game. When you have the ball, the other team can't score anyway and Turkish teams are always better in offense than defense.

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  29. Agreed on everything but the last sentence.

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  30. Wha is wrong with the reasoning that attacker should take the pen?!? What is your reasoning, goalkeeper?

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  31. Sorry but Vyas is in kindergarten most of the time. Yes I apologised for him.

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  32. Toures buried two pressure penalties already this season, has to be ahead of a confidence-lost Lovern

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  33. Oh come on Sturridge is still working his way back to full fitness, he has been out for months. Give him a break lad.

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  34. Joel Matt Murdock Hwa9:11 am, February 27, 2015

    Hence I put the blame on Rodgers. He should know better.

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  35. So our first loss in normal play since december and suddenly your calling for Rodgers to go, talk about fickle. We had alot of injuries and players missing, bad games happen.

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  36. Joel Matt Murdock Hwa9:12 am, February 27, 2015

    What is wrong with goalkeeper taking penalties?

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  37. Joel Matt Murdock Hwa9:13 am, February 27, 2015

    How you know? Sterling told you?

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  38. ....And everyone just turns on Rodgers again, oh joy :P

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  39. When it comes to a penalty shoot out whoever feels confident should take the penalties.


    Lets not forgot Sterling is still a young lad and not long turned 20, the atmosphere in that ground last night was very intense and hostile, he will not have been used to that and is still learning.

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  40. Makes you laugh doesn't it, fickle is not the word.

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  41. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...

    Penalty- getting the ball past the keeper into the net.

    Attacker's job- getting the ball past the keeper into the net.

    Get it? Not saying defenders and bloody goalkeepers should'nt be taking them, but attackers should be up in the pecking order.

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  42. Attackers are supposed to shoot the penalties, he didn't.

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  43. Maybe fickle is or isn't the word but I would love the bitch slap as a phrase for them...

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  44. Fickle isn't the word, but its a good start

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  45. Personally that is my view and I'm no sterling lover, but I think if you don't feel confident taking penalties it is better for the sake of your own team that to pass on it rather humiliating you and your team on the penalty and the subsequent rebound like messi did.

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  46. It looked like 5-2-3 to me. or 3-4-3 if yoe wish but the point is we needed one more midfielder there and with the current squad it should've been Lallana AM. That sub was good one, but by then we were already the team that missed their chances and that only hopes the opposition will miss theirs.
    Wrong decision from BR, but with Daniel in half the finishing form would see us through...

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  47. That sounds like you think Messi had no confidance?!?

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  48. I am not concerned about Sterling not taking a penalty because he wold have missed anyways.. What concerns me is why Lovren of all people took the penalty.. Here is a player who as been woefully short of confidence and to give him such a pressurising task is crazy. I do not care how 'confident' he is feeling. Common sense has to prevail and Rodgers should have used it to veto Lovren's decision.

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  49. rather completely different, I feel Messi felt overconfident!

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  50. Should've been Lambert for the 5th with Allen the first. mORENO AND tOURE SHOOTING BEFORE LOvren, but if you veto someone and he shoots, say, 8th pen what happens? We needed a save, but that was mission impossible with their strikes.

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  51. Penatly shootouts are a different ball game to running at the defence with the ball. Penalties are about nerves, but playing - a lot of the time is instinct.
    If he didn't feel confident then he shouldn't take one. Imagine if Rodgers had forced him in to it and he'd missed. Rodgers would be chastised for forcing him to do it.

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  52. That is the decision a manager would have made and I hate to take the example but if Rafa was managing, I guarantee you Lovren would not be taking that pen.. The thing is that a player like that should be last behind Mignolet to make it very unlikely for him to take a pen. At that time, their worst pen takers will also be taking pens so the pressure is on.. All ten other players had a higher chance of scoring than Lovren did so it is crazy to make him take it so early.

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  53. On a related note:
    What is this season's Liverpool highlight? I'd go with Penalty controversy

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  54. Really good 1st half really poor 2nd. But still it took a cracker of a goal to beat us. Taking balo off was a big mistake sterling was a deer in the headlights and sturrige looked like he couldn't run. Its gonna take rogers a while te crack europe but if we finish third in the league and maybe the fa cup it will be a great season. Have to avoid defeat Sunday arsenal and the scum are their for the taking. Very sad that lovren was the only player to take that pen I pity the guy he had a good game. On the upside no more Thursday night games really let's us focus on the league.

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  55. Agreed. Plus if you do let him, take it give him 2nd or 3rd so we have time to make it right if he misses, that kind of the pressure on our worst penalty taker is just absurd...

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  56. I just hope BR did not do this to make Lovren a scapegoat if he were to miss to take the pressure off him... I am baffled as to why Moreno did not take the pen.. He was the best player on the night and has the best technique. Surely could have been worth it.

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  57. Your statement is a contradiction. You say he 'woefully short of confidence' then in the next sentence 'you don't care how confident he is'.
    How do we know that not every other player bottled it and also said "no I don't feel confident taking one."

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  58. That was the point I was going for. How can a player so short of confidence be suddenly ready to take such a pressurizing penalty.. What is the point of having a team where no one is confident and a center back has to take a pen?

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  59. I actualy hoped Lovren ends up as the scapegoat, the naci pr!ck.,.

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  60. You are quite fickle, Mr. Vyas

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  61. Very disappointing result. Struggled in the CL and no different in the EL.


    The muck up of tactics, team selections and persistence with players who should not be starters etc is the reason for our downfall this season whether anyone wants to believe it or not. Things were changed to late and we are suffering the consequences now.


    FSG are already looking at the money LFC paid out this season for transfers etc with a very small chance of some return. FA Cup left and race to finish top 4. Time is ticking and will be interesting to see how things pan out at the end of the season...

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  62. Quite frankly we don't know how it panned out. For all we know, Rodgers had a plan for who to take what pen, and at the last minute some of them bottled it and Lovren was the only player to step up.
    Or maybe he is really good at Pens in practice.
    Maybe he has always been in line to take the 5th pen if he's on the pitch.

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  63. Weere you not arguing with me the other day that Rodgers should be given a chance? :-o

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  64. players who should not be starters- Lovren had to plAy, Allen was very good. anyone else?

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  65. I am talking about start of the season.

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  66. Past 2 games LFC dead poor, lucky to escape from SOU ( they lacked finishing touch) and don't care how much Sterling makes but LFC could have at least attacked 10 min to put them in pressure and score a goal or create something worthwhile (Yes, 1st half had some chances but not taken). Can looked as if he hated Besiktas (At Anfield same feeling) and he and Joe did not control midfield to pass on the balls to the forward. Lallana could have come earlier. The ground made it passing I would like to believe.Gosh this was NOT the LFC way to play yesterday, maybe LFC burnt out.
    Really fearful on Sunday.

    Discuss....

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  67. I didn't know that about Lovren. What's he said to deserve that tag? (don't get yourself in trouble)

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  68. Joe Simunic was banned from the WC for singing naci songs with Croatia supporters after one game. Lovren was the only one supporting him. And on the anniversary of The storm, which was the ethnic cleansing action by Croats ON sERBS IN THE bALKAN war '90 he tweeted something like there is only one true storm.. Normal Croats today recognize that was a war crime though that date is actually their national day thaey celebrate..

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  69. That's disturbing... wow. Thanks. I didn't know that. We can't tolerate that kind of behaviour and ideology.

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  70. Last night showed Rodgers is inept concerning the continental game. This is evident in his inability to progress through any European competition. We should NOT have been beaten by Ludogorets. We should NOT have been beaten by Besiktas. We went into the game with a lead and if it were not for Rodgers cluelessness; We would still be in with a chance at winning a European trophy and in a Champions League slot.

    We needed another man in midfield early in the second half, and everyone could see that.

    If the ITV commentators are CRYING OUT for another man in the midfield owing to the fact we were getting completely overrun and out-muscled, why can Rodgers not see that a change is needed when the rest of the world is in unison ?
    Adding a man to the midfield could have prevented that goal and we could have progressed on the lead we should have maintained.
    Rodgers lost that game for LFC. Plain truth!
    He should stand up and take account for his inability to act when a midfield sub was required.

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  71. You nationalist Serb! Dont take politics into this you only hate Lovren because he is CROATIAN!

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  72. AndWithSuchSimplicity11:11 am, February 27, 2015

    Liverpool are out of the competition not just because Sterling ducked the pen. They are out because Sterling has no vision, cannot play a simple pass, and has a piss-poor shot.
    And as for Sturridge..... Hit the bloody thing.
    It should never have gone to pens.

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  73. Yes, it's a stupid competition. It's all right for little clubs like Chelsea to take it seriously and win it, but not big clubs like Liverpool. Liverpool are far too important. Very soon they'll be out of the cup too and can concentrate on winning the league.

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  74. You are so right - Gerrard won the CL final. Benitez did his best to lose it and actually did lose the next one, which was there for the taking. Not that Rodgers will be contesting any finals, of course.

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  75. We missed Coutinho. We missed Henderson, this game was too tough for Allen. We missed a fully fit Sturridge. Those are my reasons for yesterday's loss. Sterling & Sturridge have been over complicating things lately, but the Turks had none of it! I quite like Hutchinson the Canadian midfielder, strong, athletic & great composure on the ball. A ready made replacement for Allen.

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  76. thexcuriousxwanderer11:18 am, February 27, 2015

    Wages were already negotiated. Are we going to fault him for saying what he feels when he is not confident, when speaking up was for the good of the team? Would you rather he take it and miss because he wasn't confident but didn't say a single thing? Why are we blasting him for doing this in the interest of the team?

    Wake up guys and start supporting the team.

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  77. thexcuriousxwanderer11:20 am, February 27, 2015

    Agree Balo played well. Is it me or did anyone notice that Balo seems like the only one that can retain the ball during throw ins?

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  78. Rodgers certainly isn't learning much or quickly. This is a man who bust his nuts to sign Allen and Louvren!

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  79. nope, I am Montenegrian. Just stating the facts.

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  80. Suarez sounds great after that, right...

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  81. 100% agree. Got over run in midfield in the 2nd half with BR not making changes to compensate.

    Also, I felt LFC just ran out of steam after 75 mins - is this a lack of match fitness or just the after effects of a draining Chelsea game?

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  82. Agree about burnout. Hopefully will have a few fresh players for Man City, but more hope than expectation.

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  83. Sorry no.. Allen was not very good hence why we got over run in midfield.

    However, I will say that he was the *ONLY* one up for giving 100% effort as rest of team were lethargic from 2nd half onwards - no closing down, jogging back to position, no tracking of player runs.

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  84. WAS GOOD, BUT FADED AWaY. And it was a task too difficult for a two men midfield.

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  85. There seems to be a media BR love-in at the moment, suggesting LFC have been playing really well since the Man Utd defeat and the defence and keeper have been turned around.

    Much like you I am not convinced. Granted LFC are on a good run and BR should take some credit for the turnaround.

    However, I would still like to view the whole season from start to finish to make appropriate judgements. From a side that finished 2nd last season and then spent 100m+, we are going to have a tough fight now to finish in the top 4. Had we gone on to win the Europa Cup there was an automatic CL place on offer which we've now missed out on.

    So, if all we do is finish 4th and maybe win the FA Cup would that represent a good season and excellent return on investment? I am sure for some that may be the case - but I'd want to set my sights higher and be in a position to compete for the EPL every season. And I am not sure that will happen with BR at the helm.

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  86. I will always support the team win lose or draw. But the team/player is not above criticism when it is due. If an attacking player believes he is worth the kind of money being mentioned he (or his agent) is asking for then he better have the skill and confidence to back it up. If he does not have the confidence to score a goal from 12 yards (or whatever the distance) out then maybe he or his agent should 're think their negations and ask for a suitable wage that reflects what he think he can provide the team. I find it hard to believe that a Player who has been playing and training at one of the highest levels as an attacking (goal scoring) player doesn't have the confidence over a defender to score a goal when all is in front of him is a goal keeper. Therefore I agree with Jamie that Stirling bottled it. I don't blame him for the lose that is down to the team in the 120 minutes leading up to the penalties.

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  87. Well still not great ;) but this is horrifically bad!



    Maybe Balotelli shouldn't have been the only one called out for inappropriate social media posts!

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  88. No way Suarez can look great...

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  89. So there is still hope, I'm pleased you that confident

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  90. All that watched ,saw the same as you except BR!

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