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Rodgers Defiant Over Team Selection

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Recent weeks have seen the Liverpool boss come under fire for frequent, puzzling changes to his lineups, but he was in a fighting mood ahead of Arsenal's visit to Anfield on Sunday.

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There has been plenty of criticism reserved for Brendan Rodgers this season, and while some of it has ventured into the hyperbolic, a good portion of it has appeared both deserved and measured. Last season he could do no wrong as his side steamrolled their way toward a title challenge, but in his third season Rodgers has had trouble replicating the successes of his second campaign in charge.

Few have found themselves outside the firing line, with Rodgers and his squad coming under criticism for most of the past few months. That was again the case ahead of the League Cup quarterfinal against Bournemouth, with an experimental formation and personnel named in what had become a must-win fixture. The questions appeared justified regardless of the result--a 3-1 Liverpool win--but for Rodgers, the constant questioning and second-guessing has worn thin, and ahead of Sunday's crucial Premier League matchup against Arsenal, the manager was open about his displeasure with the amount of criticism he's received:

"The other night a British coach playing 3-4-3 - he has probably thrown the team together, he hasn't really thought about it, he has played seven midfield players. If it was a foreign coach it would probably have been a wonderful tactical idea of playing the game.

"Sterling playing through the middle, what is he doing? Or Markovic wide? The key for us trying to get the players in position who can make us effective."

Nobody around here asking those questions, right? Right.

There's an argument to be made on both sides, and it's almost as though there was a post recently discussing the merits of both sides of the coin. Rodgers has been effectively forced into making a number of changes as the season has progressed, but some of those changes have made little sense at times, and with results not coming with any sort of regularity, the focus has obviously swung toward the man in charge.

That Rodgers has shown some strain of late, and on Friday in particular, isn't particularly surprising, and the only way things will ease up is if the wins start coming. Premier League results are the priority, with the Europa League, FA Cup, and League Cup to follow, and if he can manage a win tomorrow against a talented Arsenal side, there could be better days ahead for a man who's found himself on both ends of the managerial spectrum in 2014.