Saturday 24 March 2018

Rodgers plays down January business

Chris Bascombe

Brendan Rodgers has warned Liverpool supporters not to expect the opening of January's transfer window to solve his team's problems.

The Liverpool manager has around £20m to spend and hopes to conclude deals for Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge and Blackpool's former Liverpool midfielder Thomas Ince at the start of next month.

He is also monitoring Theo Walcott's position at Arsenal, with Liverpool prepared to match the England international's salary expectations of around £90,000 a week.

Defeat at home to Aston Villa last Saturday left Liverpool in 12th place, but there is anticipation that new faces will improve the club's standing in the second half of the season.

"There is no doubt we will get reinforcements in and there is no doubt that we will get the backing but it will come down to two things – the availability and affordability of players," Rodgers said.

"I see lots of names bandied about and, with all due respect, names that are pie in the sky because there won't be too many top players moving about in January because clubs want top money.

"But there is no doubt that we want to bring in goals and we want to bring in players who can assist in scoring goals.

"If we can do that, it will set us up and then we can really reinforce again in the summer."

Although most of the focus has been on a lack of support and back-up for Luis Suarez, defeat to Villa exposed broader problems in Rodgers' line-up.

Stewart Downing was a makeshift left-back, covering for Luis Enrique who himself has only recently been re-established in that position.

Rodgers believes Joe Allen and Raheem Sterling need a break, and anchorman Lucas has recently returned having missed most of the last 12 months with injury.

Rodgers was widely quoted suggesting Liverpool should be aiming higher than fourth, but he was talking over the longer term rather than this season – a message he has reiterated.

"There is a bigger picture for sure and it goes back to affordability," said Rodgers.

"We will spend money in January to try and bring fresh faces into the group and give us that support at the top end.

"All our problems were never going to be solved in this window because the January window is one of the least productive and the least movement goes on there.

"But we will look to solve some of our problems then and then we will look to revisit it in the summer knowing we will be in a much better place than we were the previous summer." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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