Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that he does not know if the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, will extend his contract into a fourth year beyond the end of next season.
The Northern Irishman joined Liverpool from Swansea back in 2012 after Kenny Dalglish was sacked, and he agreed a three-year contract with the option of a fourth, although the decision lies with Fenway rather than Rodgers.
Rodgers has drawn praise since arriving on Merseyside, especially this season for developing an exciting attacking style of play that was highlighted in the 5-1 demolition of Premier League title rivals Arsenal last Saturday. While Rodgers is expected to be offered a new contract, failure to secure a return to the Champions League, where Liverpool have not featured since the 2009-10 campaign, would call into question his position given he would be in the final 12 months of his contract.
However, Rodgers has confirmed that talks are yet to begin over an extension, although reiterated his happiness at Anfield and stressed that he would continue to fight until the end should he not be offered a new deal.
Asked whether talks had begun, Rodgers answered: “Nothing whatsoever. I have, after this year, one more year to go. I have always said I am very happy here and we're just over halfway through that contract and it is not something that comes into my thinking.
“If I was to never get offered one, I would give my life to the last day of that contract. In the meantime, until anyone says otherwise or wants to reward the staff or myself for our work, then we keep working as normal and see where it takes us.
“The option is for the club for the fourth year, but in all fairness there is a point next year where the club has to let me know whether they want to keep me on or not.
“I have regular contact with the owners and it is never mentioned. I talk more about players. My ambition is more for the club so I want the players tied up so we can keep the best players and get players in.
“The club knows my feelings in that I love it here and hopefully – if I can progress and be good and everyone is happy – stay here. If it's not to be for the owners and they want a different direction at the end of it, I will have done my best.”
Rodgers highlighted that he wanted to get key members of his squad committed to long-term deals, and admitted that one of those players is England midfielder Jordan Henderson.
The former Sunderland player has struggled to find consistent form since arriving at Anfield in 2011, but has flourished this year after being given more responsibility in a more attacking role. His run of strong performances saw him return to the England fold towards the end of 2013, and the 23-year-old has given him a real chance of inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad later this year.
“He will certainly be one,” Rodgers said in reference to Henderson’s new contract probabilities. “The way he is working we would want to secure his services. He still has his best years ahead of him and you can see his growth and development. He will want to get better and I'm sure it is in the interests of the club to tie him down.”
Rodgers went on the claim that fans will have seen England’s first choice midfield partnership on the pitch at Anfield last Saturday, albeit on different sides.
“For me you had England's midfield three on the pitch on Saturday with Jordan, Stevie (Gerrard) controlling and Jack Wilshere,” Rodgers suggested.
“Stevie playmaking from behind and two attacking players who can run, get forward, get into the box and can press. Wilshere is a wonderful player. He is probably not to his fitness level yet but he is a big talent who can play either side and between lines. Jordan, tactically, is improving so much, and Stevie is in the zone just behind. It would be hard to pick a better three than that.”
Henderson’s promotion to the starting line-up would mean there would be no space for either Frank Lampard or Michael Carrick, although on recent form it would be hard to argue that it isn’t deserved.
What Henderson needs to do though is maintain his purple patch until the summer, when the World Cup will be staring England prominently in the face as they prepare to take on Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica. If he can maintain his current levels, and even push on, Henderson could very well start the first match in Manuas on June 14th.
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