Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has made no secret of the fact that the Europa League Group Stages will be used to give fringe players and youth some time on the pitch, but after failing to build on Adam Lallana’s early opener and giving away the equalizer just over 10-minutes later, the Reds saw a number of good chances go begging as they dawdled to a disappointing draw with Swiss outfit FC Sion.
“We’re disappointed with the result,” was the familiar response from the manager in his post-match interview. “The story of the game was pretty obvious; we started the game well, got in front, gave away a poor goal and then created chances throughout the game and should have maybe won comfortably,” he explained. “But, unfortunately, we ended up drawing the game and we’re frustrated in the end.”
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With one eye firmly on Sunday’s Merseyside Derby, the Reds boss made seven changes to the side that beat Aston Villa at the weekend, resting the likes of Daniel Sturridge and James Milner while naming Philippe Coutinho to the bench. Although the Brazilian made an impact during a second half cameo filled with chances for both sides, the Anfield outfit failed to find the breakthrough with Divock Origi, Emre Can and Lallana failing to capitalize on a number of good opportunities — ones that first team players would have buried.
“For this game, of course there were a number of players we needed to be careful with – players like Daniel [Sturridge] that were coming back from injury,” said the Northern Irishman when asked if he’ll look to field a stronger team to secure progression out of the Group Stage. “There’s no doubt we want to qualify and get through into the knockout stages of the tournament, but we’re picking teams to get the result. Away in Bordeaux, there were a lot of young players playing that were getting great experience, but we’re still going up in the games,” continued the Liverpool boss, riffing on the theme of the night. “Maybe that little bit of lack of experience at times has not seen us hang onto the lead. Tonight, really the story was about the chances. We had enough chances to win the game, and that was really disappointing.”