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Liverpool in search mode

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits it will not be easy to find players to sign in the January transfer window despite having funds to strengthen his squad.

The Reds boss brushed aside speculation linking him with a move for Arsenal forward Theo Walcott, who is out of contract next summer.

And while much has been made of a suggested clear-out of high-earning, out-of-favour stars like Joe Cole and Stewart Downing, the Irishman conceded his primary focus was on strengthening his squad.

"There is nothing to say (about Walcott). He is an Arsenal player and it is all speculation about many players at the moment," said Rodgers.

"We'll have funds and I'm in talks with the owners at the moment, along with our recruitment team.

"January is always a difficult window. You don't get too many top, top players.

"Clubs will be unwilling to move on players but we have to scour the country and the world to try to get the types of players that are going to be available and correct for our model of play.

"Obviously we are limited in what we can bring both in terms of availability of players and financially but there is no doubt we need to do that.

"Our scouting team are working hard to identify those talents and who might be available.

"There is no doubt we need that support (from new players) in January and I am very confident we will be able to do that."

Tomorrow's visitors Newcastle have led the way with their recruitment policy, under the guidance of the well-respected Graham Carr, and Liverpool have regularly been linked with Magpies striker Demba Ba.

Rodgers acknowledged the work which has gone on at St James' Park since Alan Pardew took over.

"Scouting at any club is very important. Obviously Alan has gone in there and Graham Carr, as chief scout, has had a big responsibility in getting the players in," he said.

"I think they have bought in really well. (Yohan) Cabaye is a terrific player, an excellent passer of the ball, and the boys up front (Ba and Papiss Cisse) have done well for them."


Rodgers insists he is more focused on bringing in players to bolster his playing staff than he is on off-loading those who appear to have no long-term future at Anfield.

The likes of Cole, whose 45-minute performance in the midweek League Cup defeat at home to Swansea did little to enhance his claims, Downing and, to some extent, Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique have found themselves on the fringes this season.

Ideally, Liverpool would like to have Cole, in particular, and his supposed £100,000-a-week salary off the wage bill in order to free up cash for new signings while if money could be generated from other sales it would strengthen Rodgers' hand in the transfer market.

"Joe is like every other player. I've have good communication with Joe and we speak regularly," said the manager.

"He along with the other players are working hard to find their way into the team and Joe is like everyone else.

"But for us my concentration is purely on the squad we have.

"The priority is to get players into the building.

"Our squad is very small, very thin on the ground, and the players have performed admirably up until now.

"At this moment in time it really is about reinforcing the group rather than looking too much at people going the other way."

Rodgers' immediate focus is the fitness of goalkeeper Jose Reina, absent for four matches with a hamstring injury, and defender Glen Johnson, also a doubt for tomorrow with a similar problem.

Brad Jones has stood in ably for Reina and could give the Reds boss a selection poser when the Spain international returns to fitness.

"Pepe Reina and Glen Johnson are still receiving treatment," said Rodgers.

"Glen has been out on the pitch so we'll see how he goes over the next couple of days.

"Pepe will be likewise. My decision will be when Pepe is fit."