Having stayed up way past her bed time to watch her Dad play for Liverpool at the Bernabeu, little Elena Lovren was left bemused by manager Brendan Rodgers decision to leave defender Dejan out of his squad for the big game. Pictured by her mother Anita with her arms outstretched, the one year old looked perplexed as she watched the game unfold with Kolo Toure in central defence instead of her Daddy. Fortunately for her, all was not lost as she was consoled with a hug from her hero Cristiano Ronaldo after the game.
Missing Big Names
Dejan Lovren wasn’t the only big name left out of the starting line up by Rodgers who also opted to rest Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Mario Balotelli for the 1-0 defeat. It remains to be seen whether Cristiano was on hand to console their families too but there will certainly have been a lot of Liverpool fans looking for a lift when they saw the starting XI.
It could, of course, have been worse for Liverpool, who lost their recent home game against the Spanish giants 3-0 but Rodgers’ decision to rest his stars seems like an acceptance that his team are not good enough to compete in the Champions League. Football experts such as those at bluesq recognise that one of the reasons for Liverpool’s successful league campaign last season was their lack of distractions but now, having qualified for the Champions League, Rodgers must surely be willing to sacrifice league form in order to give it his best shot in Europe. The decision to rest his big names suggests a lack of ambition at Anfield, or a lack of faith in the depth of the squad….either way it is a cause for concern for the Liverpool supporters.
The 4,500 travelling Liverpool fans may have left Madrid disappointed but at least for one little girl Cristiano Ronaldo was able to make sure that it wasn’t a wasted trip to Spain.