BRENDAN RODGERS has warned his Liverpool FC youngsters they could be facing the likes of Oldham Athletic on a regular basis if they don’t improve their attitude – as Philippe Coutinho jetted in to complete his move to Anfield.
Rodgers remains bitterly disappointed at the manner in which a youthful side slumped to a shock 3-2 FA Cup fourth round defeat at the League One Latics on Sunday afternoon.
Only three of the starting XI were over the age of 23, a line-up which included teenagers Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Jack Robinson and young signings Fabio Borini and Daniel Sturridge.
All bar Borini have only ever played top-flight football, and Rodgers believes some could end up forging careers further down the leagues as the harsh reality of playing for an elite club starts to bite.
“For some of our young players, Oldham was a rude awakening,” said the Liverpool manager. “Some have not had that experience of going to the Championship or League One on loan and doing the dirty work.
“They have come in and done well but we don’t have world class young players, I must be clear on that. We are not good enough to win games at 60 or 70%. Our youngsters are not good enough to coast through.
“We need a group that is hungry in every single game. Youngsters won't have a greater role model to learn off than Steven Gerrard.
“If they are bright enough, they will. If they don't they will find themselves playing in League One and regretting the opportunity they missed.
“I mean players 21, 22 and under. I have to give credit to Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen, they came out with some sort of credit but there weren’t too many other than that.
“Oldham may not have been a big game for one or two of them, but they will learn over the course of time because if they don’t they won’t be here, it’s as simple as that. And the same goes for the older players too.”
Rodgers has been criticised in some quarters for publicly pointing the finger at a group of youngsters he himself had selected for the Boundary Park tie.