Brendan Rodgers has unintentionally slammed Liverpool players by claiming that Raheem Sterling's dip in form is due to the lack of world class players in the squad.

The Reds had Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge to lead their attacking lineup and the duo scored over 50 goals in the league last season. However, the former Ajax man joined Barcelona earlier in the summer and the England international last featured for the Anfield club in August.

Sturridge has been out of action since then and this, coupled with Suarez's departure has seen the Merseyside club struggle to score regularly this season. During the league defeat against Manchester United and Capital One Cup quarterfinal victory over Bournemouth, Rodgers started with Sterling as a centre forward.

The 20-year-old received a lot of criticism for failing to put the ball past David De Gea on Sunday. However, he scored the opener as Liverpool sealed a 3-1 away victory to reach the last four of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night.

"He's got a wee bit of stick over the last week or so which I find incredible because he's been outstanding for us," Rodgers told Sky Sports.

"Last season he was a young kid at 18/19 years of age, playing up top with some world class players, and this season he hasn't got that, that's the reality, but he's kept going and the focus has been on him."

"He hasn't scored the goals that people expect him to but it's not what I expect, I expect him to create goals and score goals over the season. He came in and performed brilliantly for us tonight."

"His best position is on the left which allows him to cut inside, but tonight he played a lot like Alexis Sanchez. Two good feet, finds space and isn't afraid to play with his back to goal. He was outstanding," the Liverpool manager stressed.

Meanwhile, Liverpool will now face Chelsea in the semifinal of the Capital One Cup after their latest win over Bournemouth.