A single, unavoidable interpretation is applied when the coach of a major club rests his senior players for a fixture: he has bigger fish to fry and believes that even a team of deputies can deal with the immediate matter in hand. By omitting Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Joe Cole, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson the Liverpool manager not only disappointed Hearts supporters, he left them dispirited too.
The prospect of Gerrard and Suarez gracing Tynecastle was one of the great attractions of tonight's Europa League play-off first leg, but the capacity crowd will be denied. To make matters worse, Hearts must deal with the fact the stars have been left out because Liverpool do not believe they need them to win the game.
Rodgers has charm and class, and when he attended his 5pm press conference at the stadium he was warm and respectful towards the hosts in particular and Scottish football in general. To listen to him, you'd think there was no significance to the fact the last time a team from his league came to town they smashed Hearts 5-0. Liverpool knew they were in for quite a match, he said, regardless of how easy it had been for Tottenham a season ago. Hearts were direct and dangerous, he said. Rodgers' scouts had watched David Templeton last season with a view to him joining Swansea City. Scottish football was woven into the fabric of his current club from the outset. His thoughts on Scotland's own Charlie Adam? There was no absolutely truth in the speculation that he had no future at Liverpool. In fact, he had tried to sign him when he was in charge of Reading.
Rodgers was thoughtful and engaging. He has yet to reach three months in the Liverpool job but his knowledge of the club stretched all the way back to realising its dependence on Scottish players began back in 1892. "I believe every member of the first Liverpool team was Scottish and that's incredible. Over the years Scotland has always produced talented players. I think rules in Europe have made it harder for British players. Where Scots, Welsh, English and Irish players used to get a chance, it's cheaper to bring in foreign players – international boys from Holland and the like. The market has killed it. But there will always be talented players and terrific footballers up here even if it's different to a number of years ago."
But what of the present: had he left out Gerrard, Suarez et al in expectation of a test no more demanding than Spurs were subjected to a year ago? "Not at all. Not at all. The game will be a chance for the squad players to impress. We've a very strong squad and I've got to try and protect some of the players. We played for over half an hour with 10 men on Saturday [when they lost 3-0 at West Bromwich Albion] and we've got a massive game this weekend [at home to Manchester City on Sunday] but I trust this group and whatever team we put out we'll always look to win the game.
"It's a chance to see some young players but I've got some strong experienced players – international captains and Champions League winners – playing, so it's a strong squad. It will be tough. There are some very good players here, Tynecastle is a wonderful ground and the fans will get behind the team.
"I don't need to warn my group about complacency: they are allergic to it. They understand the task facing them. Hearts will be better for the experience against Spurs and they will maybe have some regrets from it, because the game was over early on. It left them with an uphill task but they will be right up for it and it will be tough."
His scouts had recommended Templeton to him at Swansea, shortly before he moved to the Liverpool job. "Templeton is direct and good on the one v ones. On the inside he's clever. When he goes on the outside he can go either way and there's normally an end product. On the other side the lad [Andrew] Driver has had one or two injuries but they play 4-3-2-1 and get it up to big John Sutton and they can hurt us. It's a team that's direct, that gets the ball up early and hits on the counter attack. It's important for us to control the ball and dominate. We need to keep the crowd quiet and keep Hearts chasing the ball. But we know it will be difficult."
Tynecastle could still see plenty of 'names'. Jack Robinson, just 18, will start at left-back but Rodgers' squad also contains Andy Carroll, Jamie Carragher, Pepe Reina, Stewart Downing, Joe Allen and Fabio Borini, not to mention Adam. The Scottish international will definitely play at least part of the match. "He's a talent, everyone knows that," said Rodgers. "He has great qualities. I actually tried to buy Charlie when I was manager of Reading so I've no idea where these stories and speculation [about being happy to sell him] come from."
One last thought: would the oldest rivalry of all, Scotland-England, add some spice? Rodgers smiled. "Not for me, I'm Irish".