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Rodgers Explains Selections for Stoke City Win

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Speaking after their win over Stoke City, Brendan Rodgers explained his thinking in selecting the team, noting the need for experience as the side look to regain confidence.

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Liverpool's starting eleven on Saturday against Stoke City wasn't a complete shock, but Brendan Rodgers sprinkled in some much-needed changes with a couple of strange selections. Out were Dejan Lovren and Steven Gerrard, in were Kolo Toure and Lucas. Also out were Emre Can, Javier Manquillo, Alberto Moreno, and Lazar Markovic, however, with Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson notably included. Adam Lallana, who started in the loss at Crystal Palace, didn't get off the bench for the second match running.

So there were changes that pleased and others that didn't, and after the win Brendan Rodgers shared his thinking on the selection and what he's looking for to kick Liverpool out of their funk:

"We have brought players in and most of them have been young players - they are not just for now, they are for the long-term. At this moment in time, we need players in the team that have got quality and experience. Lucas Leiva has come into the team and been outstanding in his two games - very tenacious, aggressive and can pass the ball. Kolo Toure's experience coming into the team has been good for us. The team is mostly full of players that have got the experience.

"The younger players will get an opportunity over time, of course, but we are in a moment where we need to get results and improve our style of football. We need to have confidence in the team and we're slowly, in the last couple of games, getting back to a confident level."

The likes of Manquillo, Moreno, Can, and Markovic obviously fall into the category of those with a view to the long-term, though it's hard to argue that the fullbacks are any worse off than Johnson and Enrique. But Markovic has struggled to find his footing and will need to grow into a role, and the optimistic view overall--or at least the one that makes sense from a care of players standpoint--is that by keeping five of his summer signings on the bench, Rodgers was protecting them from potential further negative sentiment from supporters if the performance and/or result didn't go well today.

Maybe that's not reality, but it would certainly make some sense. Liverpool's current form needs rescuing, but those who were signed in the summer aren't the only ones responsible. They need to contribute more, of course, and there's going to be questions about why they were brought in if Rodgers can't or won't use them on a regular basis. The likes of Lallana have both experience and quality, and the manager's failure to use him with any sort of consistency lately has been baffling.

Hopefully today signals an important moment for Rodgers in his willingness to use the squad more effectively and mindfully--Kolo Toure and Lucas were the start, and led to the dropping of the ineffective Dejan Lovren and a tired Steven Gerrard. Now the manager can move on to address other concerns as Liverpool look to get themselves back on track.