Sunday 21 January 2018

Rodgers promised tools to crack Europe after fresh deal

Manager Brendan Rodgers has signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool, the club have announced
Manager Brendan Rodgers has signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool, the club have announced

Chris Bascombe

Brendan Rodgers signed a new Liverpool contract after being convinced he will have the resources to compete for the title and Champions League.

Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group, confirmed the long-term deal that keeps Rodgers on Merseyside until at least 2018, rewarding him for leading the club back into the European elite with their second place in the Premier League.

Rodgers has won admirers at home and abroad for his rebuilding work at Anfield and although it was a formality he would refresh existing terms which had a year to run, with an option for a further season, he also sought assurances he would have the tools to build on an impressive last 12 months.

For the manager, that means capturing the stellar names Liverpool have been unable to attract since their exile from the Champions League.

The pursuit of Adam Lallana represents an early test, with Southampton determined to hold out for £30m for the midfielder, £10m more than Liverpool's first bid. Bournemouth, Lallana's first club, are entitled to 25pc of any sell-on fee, which is why Southampton are adamant they will not budge on his valuation.

Rodgers is sure his board will back him to sign the players he wants.

"I've got absolutely no interest in being anywhere else, but I also need to know it's going to be right as well because I want to succeed," he said.

"I want to win and I need to know that if I am going to be here I'm going to have the best possibility to win. I need to know that this is an idea and a way of working that's set up to win; it's not just to look good. And I need to know that I can have players that can carry out the instructions that we want to work to win trophies."

Asked if he had been convinced of this, Rodgers said: "Yes. The owners have been great. They're winners themselves.

"But we want to work it in a way that makes the club sustainable and I think we've clearly shown that it's about the top quality but it's also about being strategic in those signings as well, bringing in the right players.

"It's key for me that I can speak to the owners like that. I came here because I felt that this is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I want to be here as long as I can, hopefully playing a part in building and restoring a club to its greatness.

"I think we've really rediscovered the soul of Liverpool in particular this season. It's been amazing to see and feel everything about the club, especially in the last few months.

"Seeing the hope that the supporters have and seeing the scenes that have taken place outside the ground. It's so unique and to be playing a part in that, in restoring that great ability that this club has to make people dream and make them happy, has given me great pleasure."

An approach has also been made for Emre Can, of Bayer Leverkusen, in what is certain to be an active summer.

"I think the big lure will be the Champions League, that's what I've found in my conversations with agents and people," Rodgers said.

"The best players want to play in the big competition. That's the fight and I certainly found that last summer but we've put Liverpool back on the map.

"Everyone sees that we're going to be a threat; that we're going to go into Europe and have no fear. That's what top players want – to play in teams where they can show their talents."

In a joint statement, principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner added: "Players and supporters have made it clear how important Brendan is to our success and so to have him commit to us for the long term is a great boost for everyone." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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