Brendan Rodgers defends Raheem Sterling decision

Rodgers defends Sterling decision
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Brendan Rodgers defends his decision to rest in-form England star Raheem Sterling for much of Liverpool's 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has defended his decision to start Raheem Sterling on the bench in Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at Anfield.

The 19-year-old replaced Adam Lallana on the hour mark as the Reds tried in vein to cancel out Gabriel Agbonlahor's ninth-minute opener.

Sterling played 90 minutes in both of England's games during the international break and, with Ludogorets Razgrad poised to visit Merseyside in the Champions League on Tuesday, Rodgers felt that resting the in-form teenager was the best decision.

"I said at the beginning of the season that I need to trust all the players we have," he told the club's official website.

"We've got a big couple of months - a really exciting couple of months - coming up. Looking at it, I felt this was a game we could [rest Sterling]. If he didn't have international football, it would have been a different case.

"He came on and was bright. He's going to be, and already is, a big player for us, but we've built a squad here and I trust all of the players. As a team and a squad, we just didn't deliver today. He will certainly play on Tuesday night."

Tuesday's European clash at Anfield is scheduled to kick off at 7.45pm.

Gabriel Agbonlahor of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield on September 13, 2014
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