Hodgson now looks to Torres after Gerrard decides to stay at Anfield
Published 21/07/2010 | 05:00
The Liverpool manager must now hope that Fernando Torres, who remains on holiday, follows suit despite concerted interest from Chelsea and Barcelona.
The Spain international, like Gerrard, has made it clear he wishes to see proof that Liverpool will not allow last season's travails to happen again.
The difference, though, lies in their alternatives. While Chelsea and Barcelona remain hopeful that Liverpool will be tempted to sell Torres should the striker push for a move, Real Madrid's interest in Gerrard cooled because of his age, Liverpool's valuation and the availability of Sami Khedira, the German international, for roughly half the £30m price they would have had to pay.
Cole's arrival on a £4.7m-a-season, four-year contract, due to be sealed last night after the former Chelsea player completed a stringent medical, and Gerrard's statement of intent may go some way to assuaging his concerns.
Hodgson said Gerrard's announcement "gives everyone a boost. There will not be anyone in Liverpool who is not delighted to hear that. He is a player who I was really looking forward to working with when I came here and it seems now with that commitment this will happen.
"It will be a tough season and the disappointment of last season is going to take a while to dissipate, but it is very good that our best player is still going to be playing at the club. Hopefully, with the signing of Joe Cole -- and if we are lucky one or two others -- we will be going into this season's competition stronger on paper than we were last season."
Hodgson is likely to be further boosted after Liverpool agreed a deal to sign Danny Wilson, the Rangers centre back, who was first linked with the club in May. The Premier League side will pay the Scottish champions £2m for the 18-year-old, which may rise to £5m depending on his success at Anfield. Wilson is expected to undergo a medical today.
As ever with the Liverpool of Hicks and Gillett, though, even after 48 hours of such positive news, the club's reality remains a fragile one, and yesterday Liverpool's chairman, Martin Broughton, provided a timely reminder of how precarious Anfield's finances -- mired in £237m of debt -- are.
The British Airways chairman -- appointed in April to secure new owners for the club and hopeful of completing a deal by the end of August -- raised the spectre of a very real financial catastrophe at Anfield should he fail in his task by admitting that "seventh place is not (Liverpool's) rightful position -- and neither is administration." (© Daily Telegraph, London)