Paul Scholes believes Liverpool helped contribute towards Steven Gerrard's downfall against Manchester United by starting him on the bench.
The Liverpool captain was named on the substitute bench for the 2-1 defeat at Anfield on Sunday, and was sent off just 41 seconds after replacing Adam Lallana at the half-time break for kicking out at Red Devils midfielder Ander Herrera.
Scholes believes that Gerrard was desperate to make an impression having been left out of the team in what was his last appearance against Manchester United, and given that the Red Devils were on top in the first half, adds that he should have started to avoid him trying to make up for lost time.
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"Watching Steven Gerrard on Sunday, I suspect that his first thought while he was warming up during the first half was "How am I not playing in this game?," Scholes wrote in his column for the Evening Standard.
"His second would have been that when he did get on, he was going to put a few tackles in and get the home crowd going. He certainly managed the tackles, and in fact even his first challenge on Juan Mata was one of those that was only just timed OK. By the time he was into Ander Herrera his frustration had got the better of him.
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"Should he have started the game? Of course he should. There was only one person who can have thought that Gerrard was not right to start against Manchester United at Anfield in a must-win game for Liverpool, and that was Brendan Rodgers.
"United were brilliant in the first half, but if they had been up against Gerrard then it might have been different.
"He had the frustration of not playing in the game, and then he had to watch a first half in which none of his team-mates even made a tackle. It is not nice to stand on the sideline and see your own team getting destroyed at home to a big rival."
Liverpool now face an uphill battle to make it into the Champions League, with five points between them and the Red Devils in the fourth and final qualifying spot.
They'll have to try and bounce back without the services of Martin Skrtel, who has been handed a three-game ban for his stamp on David de Gea during that match at Anfield. However the defender maintains his innocence, and believes he didn't deserve the punishment handed out by the FA.
“It feels strange because we appealed against those charges and still I was hit by a three-match ban,” he said. “I didn’t want to stamp on him. It was an accident and I didn’t do it on purpose. I don’t feel guilty. It was a long ball and he went towards me and I wanted to jump over him. Simple as that.”
It may be painful to say, but Paul Scholes has a point about Gerrard. Brendan Rodgers obviously left him out for tactical reasons, but he was proven wrong by his team's lacklustre second half display. Indeed Gerrard did more than team-mates combined in his very short spell on the pitch than they managed in the first 45 minutes.
Gerrard is the heart and soul of the club and even if Rodgers thought it was best to leave him out for tactical reasons, his determination to win is surely enough to start him then take him off at half-time if the plan didn't work.
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