Brendan Rodgers
Rodgers risked his reputation by fielding a weakened team against Real MadridGetty Images/Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Real Madrid supporters welcome their players for stellar matches at the Bernabeu with a flock of white flags as a precursor to another awe-inspiring display from the greatest club in European football history.

But on Tuesday evening, upon the visit of an equal in terms of continental supremacy, Liverpool, it was Real's opponents who waved the white flag with the greatest vigour.

After dropping seven first team players including captain Steven Gerrard for the Champions League group match, Liverpool threw in the towel long before their single-goal defeat to the reigning European Cup holders and it represents a dent to Brendan Rodgers' until now unflappable reputation.

Though Twitter represents a horribly misleading internet straw poll, it does house an account whose genuine ambition is to see Rodgers removed as the Liverpool manager. Rodgers need only look to the haphazard spell of Roy Hodgson to ascertain how the discontent of Reds fans can compromise his own future.

Despite suffering four league defeats this season, winning just once upon the club's return to Europe and enduring uncertain fortunes in the transfer market, the account which threatens to fly a #RodgersOUT banner over Anfield for the weekend game against Chelsea has just over 3,000 followers. A representation of a minority view and hardly the beginning of a revolution on Merseyside.

Nevertheless, Rodgers needn't have risked damaging his reputation among Liverpool supporters – 4,000 of which travelled to Madrid for the club's third consecutive European defeat – in a prestige fixture and one which could have seen them take one step towards the last 16.

Liverpool's makeshift team performed admirably against Carlo Ancelotti's side, stifling the Spaniards and restricting a team who have scored 55 goals in 16 matches this season, to just one. What should hurt Rodgers the most is a feeling of 'what if', after Cristiano Ronaldo and co failed to discover their cutting edge.

At the fulcrum of Rodgers' justification regarding the weakened team is the weekend visit of unbeaten Premier League leaders Chelsea. The logic of resting players for one competition so they can focus on qualifying for the same tournament is close to unfathomable.

Also, Rodgers could do without insulting the intelligence of fans by claiming his side to face Real was "strong", particularly having already referenced the game against the Blues when he is likely to rotate his team for the weekend game.

Having been Liverpool manager during the quashing of the Hillsborough verdicts, as the club came within touching distance of a first league title for close to a quarter of a century and the return to the Champions League, Rodgers has already operated through some significant landmarks and dealt admirably with the club's rich history; his reputation is sky high.

But if the tide is beginning to turn among Liverpool fans, Rodgers can ill-afford such fundamental errors which could jeopardise the solidity of his role at Anfield. Escaped from Madrid with his integrity intact he might have, but Liverpool fans won't forget another insult against the club's traditions.