Thursday 22 March 2018

Rodgers expects Skrtel and Suarez to stay put

Chris Bascombe in Toronto

BRENDAN RODGERS is determined to resist any attempt to lure Martin Skrtel from Liverpool, insisting there have been no bids for the defender.

Skrtel suggested in an interview last week that he has received several offers to leave. That is news to Rodgers. Liverpool hope to conclude negotiations on a new deal with the 27-year-old and are bemused by suggestions there has been any breakdown in conversations. The club expects talks to continue.

Skrtel featured in the opening game of Rodgers' reign in Canada on Saturday, a low-key 1-1 draw with Toronto.

Asked afterwards if there had been offers for the defender, Rodgers said: "No. I've heard nothing from any other club.

"Martin has been fantastic and seems happy and contented. He fits into my plans and ideas. I will fight as hard as I can to keep the players that I want here and he is one of them.

"Unfortunately, there is always that rumour, speculation and gossip and until the window closes that will continue."

Rodgers struck a similar tone with Luis Suarez, perplexed by the suggestion Juventus believe they can strike a deal for the Uruguayan and pair him with Robin van Persie next season.

Suarez has already held positive talks with Rodgers by telephone and he is sure of his ongoing commitment to Anfield.

As with Skrtel and Daniel Agger, Liverpool hope Suarez will sign an improved contract shortly.

"I'm confident he is really looking forward to playing for us this season," said Rodgers. "I have spoken to him and had nothing but positivity from him."

The Euro 2012 representatives, including Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll, are due to arrive in Boston this evening.

Rodgers used 23 players in Saturday's match. Alberto Aquilani and Joe Cole, who spent last season on loan at AC Milan and Lille respectively, both saw action, while Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva was sent on as a 75th-minute replacement for his first appearance since damaging cruciate ligaments last November.

Brad Jones was replaced by Peter Gulacsi at the interval and the Hungarian was beaten just before the hour.

Liverpool's Spanish youngster Suso showed great skill in the 65th minute to fashion a shooting chance but his curling left-footed shot was saved by Toronto goalkeeper Quillan Roberts.

Rodgers' men were back on level terms four minutes later, though, when Raheem Sterling cleverly worked his way into the box before rolling a low shot past Roberts and Adam Morgan was on hand to drill the ball home from close range. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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