Stung by going out of the FA Cup against League One outfit Oldham Athletic, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has criticised the performances of a number of the Premier League club’s young players, the Daily Mirror has reported.
The Reds were beaten by two goals from Latics striker Matt Smith and one from Reece Wabara, the defender on-loan from Manchester City. Liverpool replied through Luis Suarez and Joe Allen but could not turn around the score line to send themselves through to the competition’s next round, or even take the tie to an Anfield replay.
Rodgers named a strong line-up containing leading scorer Suarez and summer signing Allen as well as the likes of recent arrival Daniel Sturridge, defender Martin Skrtel, midfielders Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling and Fabio Borini, another summer buy.
But the XI also contained only three players over the age of 23 – Skrtel, Suarez and goalkeeper Brad Jones – and Rodgers complained after the match that the young players in his squad lacked the mental strength to deal with the nature of the fixture.
“We’re bitterly disappointed. Our mentality was poor and it ended up costing us. We started and finished the first-half poorly and started the second-half poorly and got punished,” Rodgers said.
“It is a different game to the Premier League. Premier League games are nice, teams stroke the ball about and give you time to get your shape. This is a different type of football, you have got to roll your sleeves up and be strong and aggressive – and we didn’t do that.”
The Liverpool boss continued: “We didn’t have enough physicality, especially considering we have got two big strong centre-halves. We have a 6ft 4ins and a 6ft 3ins centre-half, but we didn’t compete.
“ We have young players and it’s great to put them in, but you have to have personality. Today our young players disappointed me, they didn’t have the right mentality and you can’t do that at Liverpool.”
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