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

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has backed his decision to rest several key players during their Champions League 1-0 defeat against Real Madrid on Tuesday night - with the Saturday's Premier League fixture against Chelsea in mind.

Some people accused the boss of throwing in the towel even before the game with Los Blancos, opting to drop seven first team players including Captain Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling.

But Rodgers has backed his decision, claiming he eventually deployed the strongest team he had while revealing the captain had a scan on his hamstring just before the trip to Madrid.

"What's hard for journalists is you don't know the full extent of who could play. Gerrard had a scan the day before."

"I put out the best team I thought could get a result against Real Madrid. My players were magnificent on the night,"

"[Criticism] doesn't affect me in any way. You just have to focus on your job. I make decisions in the best interests of Liverpool Football Club.

"Our idea was to stay in the game for 60/65 minutes and then open up the game in the closing stages. I was very proud of the players."

Rodgers also expressed his confidence on securing a good result against Chelsea despite being aware of the big challenge of facing the league leaders.

"It will be a tough game for us, they are unbeaten. Chelsea have big experience. Players who have been there a long time."

Meanwhile, the manager backed Gerrard after the midfielder made the mistake that led to Liverpool's crucial 2-0 defeat to Chelsea in last season's title run-in.

"It was just unfortunate. I think Gerrard recovering mentally shows the magnificent response from him. There was no blame; just unfortunate.

"We'll have learnt from last season's defeat to them, it'll be tough though. They're the best team in the league at the moment, that's why they are top of the league.

"When we play at Anfield, no matter the opponent, we have every confidence we can go on and get a result."