Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers defended his team selection for the Champions League loss at Real Madrid after being accused of "throwing in a white towel".
Seven of the Reds' starting XI from the weekend defeat by Newcastle - including Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling - began Tuesday's 1-0 loss on the bench.
"I didn't see this as a big showcase game where I had to play the so-called names," said Rodgers.
"It might have seemed a gamble but for me it wasn't."
When Liverpool's team was announced, Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker said: "Rodgers has left out [Jordan] Henderson, Sterling, [Mario] Balotelli, Gerrard and [Philippe] Coutinho at Real Madrid. He has, though, thrown in a white towel.
"Selecting a weakened side in Europe's premier competition, especially against Real Madrid, is unbefitting of a club of Liverpool's stature. If I were one of Liverpool's star players, I'd be choked to be left out of a game at the Bernabeu against the European champions."