Hodgson issues challenge
Published 10/09/2010 | 15:25
Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has challenged Ryan Babel and David Ngog to prove they are good enough to provide back-up for Fernando Torres and save him the trouble of having to sign a striker in the future.
The 62-year-old had wanted to bring in another forward last month to help ease the burden on Torres over the entire season.
However, he admits there were no players which "excited" him enough to spend money late on in the transfer window - when additional cash became available after Javier Mascherano's £20m move to Barcelona three days before the deadline.
Now he is looking to those players within the squad to show they can make the step up.
"I'm not that disappointed not to bring in another striker because I don't think there was a great choice of centre-forwards out there for any of the teams," said Hodgson.
"We didn't see much movement in terms of strikers between the Premier League clubs because I think there are a lot of clubs chasing a very particular type of player.
"It was only after the sale of Mascherano that it would have been possible for me to have the money available to do a transfer at a high enough level.
"The shortage of time bothered me and I would have been concerned we were jumping into something without researching it fully.
"Quite frankly I didn't see the players out there that really excited me to spend the amount of money those players cost.
"I would prefer to put my weight behind David Ngog and Ryan Babel - who has never been given a proper chance at centre-forward - because we have Torres and good players who can play behind a lone striker.
"I will be using these players in some of the games in order to give Fernando the rest he needs and it will be up to them to prove to me there is no need for us to look further than those to players as Fernando Torres' competitors because they are perfectly good enough to do the job.
"They will get their chances and we will see if they take them but I am hoping between now and Christmas we will have ample quality and possibilities to see us through that period."
Hodgson declared himself suitably satisfied with the club's summer transfer activity after bringing in the likes of Joe Cole, Christian Poulsen, Raul Meireles and Paul Konchesky.
He did, however, reject suggestions he missed out on signing Real Madrid midfielder Rafael van der Vaart before he completed his last-minute move to Tottenham.
Hodgson said he turned down the opportunity as he was looking for players to cover different positions.
"Those stories can get very irritating. First an agent rings you up and asks you if you want to sign Rafael van der Vaart, you say 'no' and the next minute you are one of the ones trying to sign him," added the Reds boss.
"I apologise to Van der Vaart if his agent gave him another story; I think he is a very good player but he is not the profile of the player we were looking for so when it came up I made it clear we had players in Van der Vaart's position.
"But I was very happy in general, considering there was so much to do and so many unanswered questions when I joined the club.
"I think we have done as good a job as was possible because there were so many difficulties with players that we desperately wanted to keep being courted by other clubs and wanting to leave.
"Then we had to replace some players and make certain we strengthened the squad.
"It wasn't ideal and we would maybe have liked to have done one or two other minor things as well to really improve the squad but I don't it was possible for me to do that in one transfer window, it is going to take more transfer windows.
"We were pretty much near the maximum of what we could do in the transfer window in this short period of time we had available."