Brendan Rodgers has refused to criticise Steven Gerrard

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has refused to criticise Steven Gerrard for playing a huge role in the 2-1 defeat against Manchester United. The Liverpool captain came on as a substitute at half-time, but his influence on the match lasted just 38 seconds after he was sent off for a clear stamp on Ander Herrera.

Gerrard had made a crunching tackle on Juan Mata only seconds before. The sending-off changed the game in many ways. Even though it helped Liverpool get a late equaliser through Daniel Sturridge, they were unable to push on and get the much-needed equaliser.

There was a feeling that Liverpool would not have conceded the second goal in the 59th minute if Liverpool had the full complement of players. The club could not question the decision taken by referee Martin Atkinson, as the Liverpool midfielder intentionally made a stamp onHerrera. Gerrard was expected to make a major impact in the match – after having done so in the last eight Manchester derbies. This match was especially important to the 34-year-old, as it would be his last Manchester Derby. Gerrard is leaving for LA Galaxy at the end of the season. He has already spoken about helping Liverpool finish in the top four and lift the FA Cup title before departing.

“Steven apologised to the players and me in the dressing room. It was probably frustration, we didn’t put a tackle in in the first half but the players adjusted well.I was disappointed with the first half, our start position was way too deep. They were excellent and deserved their lead. But the players showed incredible bravery in the second half and showed character.Without playing great, we still had a good chance. We needed some luck but it wasn’t to be. We will get a reaction after this and finish the season strongly,” said Rodgers.

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