Liverpool’s captain Steven Gerrard believes players will try “every trick in the book” because of their desperation to win football matches.
Television pundits Graeme Souness and Jamie Carragher – both former Liverpool players – led the criticism of Chelsea for surrounding referee Bjorn Kuipers during Wednesday’s Champions League exit against Paris St Germain.
Former Liverpool captain Gerrard told BBC Sport: “I think it’s normal when you play games at that level. Players want to win so much.
“You’ve got managers who want to win so much, players will try every trick in the book to get over the line and try and win football matches.
“Sometimes it doesn’t look nice, but we’ve all been guilty of it throughout our careers, of not always abiding by the rules. Football’s not always going to look nice.”
The French side progressed to the quarter-finals on away goals despite having Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off and Gerrard added: “PSG were the better team and good luck to them.”
Gerrard hopes to sign off his Anfield career by helping Liverpool to FA Cup glory and a place in the top four.
The 34-year-old midfielder, who leaves for Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer, has recovered from a hamstring injury after sitting out the last seven matches and is available for Monday’s trip to Swansea.
With the Reds facing a cup quarter-final replay at Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn next month, the possibility of Gerrard leading the side out for a Wembley final on his birthday is still alive.
He said: “I’ve just got over a hamstring injury and I am fit and available for the next game.
“I want to finish the season really strong and leave the team in the top four and hopefully go all the way in the FA Cup – that is how I want to sign off.”
Reds captain Gerrard was speaking at an event to publicise an already sold-out Liverpool All-Star charity game later this month which will see a number of former Reds stars plus other greats of the game line up at Anfield.
Among the former Liverpool stars returning will be Luis Suarez, Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres, while the likes of John Terry and Didier Drogba have also committed to the game.
The Chelsea duo are far from favourites with the Anfield crowd but Gerrard said it was important people remembered why they had accepted an invitation to play.
“Credit to John Terry, many people in his position would have turned away and not come,” added the Liverpool captain.
“He may get some stick on the day but for me it shows you what type of guy he is for coming and helping out.”
Gerrard, whose side will be managed by current Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, had first pick of the players and managed to get Suarez, Torres, Alonso, Terry and Thierry Henry into his side.
Carragher, who will line up alongside the likes of Drogba and ex-Reds goalkeeper Pepe Reina, said: “Stevie has gone for the Galactico-type team; if you look at his front five they’re not going to get back to help much and the age of Stevie and Alonso they need a bit of help in there.
“I’ve gone for a more balanced team and I fancy our chances.”
Gerrard Selection: Brad Jones, Stephen Warnock, John Terry, John Arne Riise, Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard, Thierry Henry, Kevin Nolan, Ryan Babel, Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres.
Carragher Selection: Pepe Reina, Martin Kelly, Jamie Carragher, Alvaro Arbeloa, Luis Garcia, Raul Meireles, Jonjo Shelvey, Craig Noone, Dirk Kuyt, Didier Drogba, Craig Bellamy.