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Premier League

Brendan Rodgers lays into Liverpool's 'soft' defenders for making Oldham rookie 'look like Didier Drogba'

Liverpool crashed out of FA Cup at the weekend

Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, has launched a strong attack on his own players as the fall-out from the club's FA Cup exit to Oldham Athletic continues, accusing his centre halves Martin Skrtel and Sebastian Coates of making Oldham forward Matt Smith, who is fresh out of university football, "look like Didier Drogba."

Liverpool have been poorly equipped for physical challenges this season and Rodgers declared they were simply "too soft" at Boundary Park.

"The boy Smith hadn't scored a goal at home in two years and he's come up against two big units we have at centre-half [Skrtel and Coates]." said Rodgers, whose side are at Arsenal tomorrow night. "He is a boy who has come out of university football and he looks like Didier Drogba. We have seen it before with [Christian] Benteke, who after our game against Aston Villa has disappeared.

"Going to places like Oldham, you know what you're going to get. It's not a Premier League game. It's a game where you have to roll your sleeves up and fight and as I said, it was too soft. That's the resilience and steel we need to have and we have to do it consistently. One or two were too soft, it's as simple as that."