Andres Kudacki Brendan Rodgers defended his decision to rest several players for tonight's big game.

Rodgers proud of reshuffled Liverpool in Real loss

“You’ve seen there tonight how good they were,” the coach told ITV.

BRENDAN RODGERS TOOK pride in the display produced by his much-changed Liverpool side in the 1-0 UEFA Champions League loss to Real Madrid.

The Northern Irishman’s selection raised eyebrows ahead of the Group B clash at the Santiago Bernabeu as he made seven changes from the 1-0 Premier League defeat at Newcastle United — naming the likes of captain Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli among the substitutes.

But, despite going behind to a 27th-minute Karim Benzema goal, Liverpool did not buckle against a Real side that brushed them aside 3-0 at Anfield last month and have been in rampant scoring form over recent weeks.

Visiting goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had a predictably busy evening against the European champions, but Rodgers’ team grew into the contest after half-time and came closest to grabbing an equaliser when Adam Lallana turned cleverly to drag a shot narrowly wide.

“You’ve seen there tonight how good they were,” Rodgers told ITV.

“We’re obviously disappointed with the result because the bottom line is that we’ve lost.

“The performance, to come here where they win in threes and fours against teams like Barcelona and big teams — for us to keep the game as close as it was right to the very end shows the quality of our performance.

“We knew we’d have to play well but we had the courage to play.

“I was very proud of the team. Overall we showed wonderful composure to play in such a great arena.”

Despite overseeing a third consecutive European defeat, Rodgers remained bullish in support of his selection in the Spanish capital. “I knew what I was doing,” he said.

“I knew what the team would be in order to hopefully get the result and we’ve seen that we nearly got that. We certainly got a performance.

“We’re disappointed with the result but, performance-wise, there’s many positives.

“Some of the young players did very well — they’re just adapting to life at Liverpool — and we’ll take the positives from the game which was to show great composure and courage to want to play.”

Liverpool now have little room for error in their remaining group matches against Ludogrets and Basel, but Rodgers remains confident they can emerge with a pair of victories.

“There’s every chance,” he added. “I think that’s what we probably looked at — we felt we’d need to win at Ludogrets away and we were hoping then that it would come down to the last game against Basel at home.

“Hopefully that’s the case. We’ve got some important games before that but at least it’s in our hands.”

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