Brendan Rodgers may bench Steven Gerrard against Real Madrid
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has said he could rest Steven Gerrard for the Champions League game at Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Liverpool lost 3-0 to European champions Real at Anfield last month. They are currently level on three points with FC Basel and minnows Ludogorets Razgrad in their group.
Reds skipper Gerrard has been a focal point this week after admitting that he may not be at the club next season and, although Rodgers claimed he wanted to keep the 34-year-old, he may rest him with a Premier League match against Chelsea next weekend.
"I don't see it as a gamble. This week, and these games against the likes of Real Madrid, I see as a great opportunity for the squad -- you put them out there and you put your trust in them to perform," he was quoted as saying in The Mirror.
"In Steven's case, if he is playing on Saturday I have to look at what is the priority for him and us. If he played against Newcastle and didn't play tomorrow night, you could say that was the priority.
"He and I have spoken about that. Three big games -- Newcastle, Madrid and then Chelsea. I need to look at a number of players to look at the games we want them to play in.
"But I have also got to look at [the fact] we brought in other players. And there is responsibility, but there is no doubt that our priorities are the Premier League and the Champions League, and always in that order."
Liverpool have made a slow start in the Premier League after finishing second last season, and have taken three points from their three games in the Champions League.
"I need to find the solutions," Rodgers said. "If this is a defining game for me, then great. Whatever the result, I will be refocused and hungrier to win the next game.
"For me, at this moment, if we want to develop we need to ensure we are in the top four, but we also want to qualify from this group and we will never know if these players can perform if we don't put them in the team.
"I am putting my faith in these players to perform. It is why you have a squad to come and get results. I see that we have spent an awful lot of money on players to come in and give them an opportunity to perform.
"If at the end of this cycle of games they haven't performed, they can never say they haven't been given a chance. For me, whether it is Real Madrid, Newcastle or Chelsea, all I will do as the manager is give them that opportunity to perform."