Rodgers stated “the best team didn’t win” after his side twice squandered a
winning position to
Luis Suárez’s stunning free-kick looked to have secured the points until
Carlos Tévez benefited from Skrtel’s sloppy back pass. The Slovakian
defender had earlier headed
“It’s not frustrating, it’s all part of the journey,” said Rodgers, who refused to admonish Skrtel for his mistake. “I commend the player's courage on the ball. The easiest thing is to get the keeper to smash the ball up the pitch and then the opposition have the ball and then they are on the attack again.
“Martin Skrtel was immense, he scored with a wonderful header. He has been a real stalwart in the short period of time I have been in here. If we are to dominate games we need players with the courage to have the ball and Martin was very courageous so there is no blame on him.
“He’s disappointed. He is a big player for the team and when you make a pass like that it can cost you the points. But there’s no blame from me. He’s a strong character. He’s disappointed but his team-mates and the staff have rallied round him.
“The best team didn’t win. We were playing against a top side – obviously they are the champions – and once we managed that first five or 10 minutes when they were playing a different system we were terrific. We had prepared for 4-2-3-1 or 3-5-2, but until you are playing actually on the field and playing against the movement then you have to reorganise and once we did that we improved.
“We are disappointed not to win the game but obviously we fielded a lot of young players who have given us great hope for the future. The effort and the quality we showed today was incredible. We’ve won a point and now we move on.”
Liverpool’s daunting opening schedule continues with Rodgers’ team braced to take on Arsenal and Manchester United over the next few weeks. Having lost 3-0 to West Brom last weekend, it made taking at least a point from the game critical for Rodgers as club chairman Tom Werner watched in the directors’ box, his first sight of the new-look team.
“There is progression. Last week was one off, but we’ve shown great resilience in our other fixtures,” said Rodgers. “Tactically the players’ concentration was excellent. But right through the game the concentration was good.
“Now I hope we can get more players in. We lost players in the summer, but hope we can strengthen in the next few days.”
Rodgers handed teenager Raheem Sterling a first league start, enthusing about his maturity but also the composure of man-of-the-match Joe Allen. “It was an easy decision to select Raheem,” said Rodgers. “I said when I came here I won’t judge players on their status but will judge on what I have seen.
“He has improved every day since I’ve been here. He was playing against a really experienced player, so for a 17 year-old it was a fantastic performance.” On Allen, Rodgers said the Liverpool fans can already see how suited the Welshman is to their red jersey.
“I think the Liverpool supporters will enjoy this kid play football,” he said. “He is five foot six in height, but as a footballer he is seven foot six. The way he reads the game is excellent. We paid £15 million but very quickly that value will double. He is at a top club and the fans will love him.”
Liverpool may lose midfielder Lucas for a few weeks after he injured a thigh in the early stages of Sunday’s draw.