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Brendan Rodgers reflects on Liverpool’s Europa League exit

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers did not look for excuses after his side lost to Besiktas on penalties on their return to the Ataturk Stadium.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - Thursday, February 26, 2015: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 2nd Leg match against Besiktas JK at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Istanbul stadium was the venue for their famous 2005 Champions League victory, also on penalties, but there was no repeat this time as Dejan Lovren missed the decisive last kick as the hosts won the shoot-out 5-4 after Tolgay Arslan had levelled the aggregate score in normal time.

“We are disappointed of course to go out in the manner we did,” said Rodgers.

“I thought we created opportunities in the first half and over the course of the game we defended very well. We just got too deep and they scored.

“I am proud of the players, the young players have had a great experience in a fantastic atmosphere.

“We were missing a lot of our creativity this evening (Liverpool had eight senior players missing) but there is no excuse.

“We played a lot of young players, we played with two strikers, so it was an attacking line-up and then once Besiktas get the goal we didn’t create so much.

“It was a tight game but we just failed to take the opportunities we had.

“When you are away from home the objective is to keep a clean sheet.

“Our objective this season was to win a cup. It is not to be in this competition but we have an excellent opportunity in another competition (the FA Cup).”

Rodgers had sympathy for Lovren, who has not enjoyed the best start to his career at Anfield after joining for £20million from Southampton in the summer.

“Dejan was happy to take a penalty – you see the five penalties takers were all confident,” he added.

“The four before had experience before in a penalty competition this season – and they were confident.

“We are disappointed for him because he had played really well in the game but someone has to miss, and unfortunately it was us.”

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