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Jan, 29, 2013

Rodgers fires warning to youngsters

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has issued a stern warning to the club's young players following their 3-2 defeat to Oldham in the FA Cup, telling them they may end up in League One themselves if they do not improve.

• Blog: Reds must not kid themselves

Rodgers gave a number of fringe players the chance to impress in fourth-round trip to Oldham, but was left disappointed that the youngsters did not seize their chance.

Captain Steven Gerrard came on in the second half, and almost rescued the Reds, however Rodgers maintains the club cannot rely on the veteran midfielder forever.

"This is a harsh school," he explained. "This isn't a club where a young player can come in and have lots of time to settle, this is one of the biggest clubs in the world, so you need to understand that every game you play is a cup final.

"And yesterday we had one or two that were too soft, simple as that. If you want to have a career at a club like this, you've got to be tougher than yesterday.

"It was only when Steven Gerrard and Stewart Downing came on that we played anywhere near the intensity and tempo that we would expect. When you get the opportunity, you have to take it. If not then it can be very difficult for you.

"Yesterday hurt, very much so. But as the manager it gives you even greater motivation to push on. You learn things about players because if we're going to progress we need to make sure we have a group that's hungry in every game.

"It's where the admiration of the likes of a Steven Gerrard and the Jamie Carraghers of this world comes from. You look at Steven yesterday - take away his quality, just his sheer enthusiasm for the game.

"He absolutely flipped the game on its head. It was fantastic but he does that every day of his life, and that's why he's a world-class player.

"Our young players, they won't have a greater role model to follow, and they're in pole position to learn, because they're seeing him every single day.

"If they're bright enough, they'll learn from him, and then hopefully they can be here for a long time.

"If not, they might find themselves playing in League One later on in their life, and they'll regret the opportunity they had of looking at a world-class player every day and learning."

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