No guarantees for new signings, warns Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

 

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has warned potential new signings there will be no guarantees when they arrive at Anfield.

A move for Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge is progressing after encountering a few hitches earlier in negotiations, with the player undergoing his medical on Monday.

The Reds are also hopeful of bringing former winger Tom Ince back to the club from Blackpool, but Rodgers stressed any new arrival would have to earn their place after rumours Sturridge wanted assurances he would get given a run in his preferred central striker role.

"No-one coming into this football club will demand where they play, that's for sure," Rodgers said.

"As with any negotiations between any club and any player it has not been straightforward.

"As you've seen over the last number of weeks, there are always going to be things written about players, clubs and dealings.

"Nothing will be complete until we've signed a player at the beginning of January but until anything is done on paper there is nothing to say.

"We'll always do our business privately and in the way we want to do it.

"We're confident we can get some business done early in January, which will really help the squad. Until that happens, there is nothing really to add.

"We don't want to make many [signings] in January, but the one or two we do I think can make a difference and help us. If we can do that, I think we'll have a good second half to the season."

Rodgers believes adding to the squad will have a positive effect all round.

"If you ask the players here, what they want is a competitive group," he added. "Of course they want to play but they know what makes them play at their best is competition and that is what we are striving to do.

"A competitive squad is knowing you have to be at the top of your game week in, week out to retain the shirt else there is someone in the background who can take your place.

"If we are going to compete going forward we need to have that."

Equally significant is retaining your best players and although Rodgers played down claims captain Steven Gerrard was to be offered a new deal, he did admit it was something which would be looked at.

"I've seen some stuff about Steven being offered a new contract but that hasn't been the case," he said. "He still has 18 months or so on his deal but there is no doubt come the end of that he is still going to be in great condition.

"He is 32 now and you saw at the weekend his brilliant performance.

"He is playing a slightly different role in this team in terms of responsibility because he has a lot of younger talents around him.

"He hasn't scored nearly the number of goals he has in previous years but there are a number of reasons for that, but it is certainly not because of his quality.

"I really believe once that contract is up we'll sit down and look to extend that."

Liverpool head to Stoke, whom they have not beaten away from home in the league since 1984, on Boxing Day.

The Potters currently have the Premier League's meanest defence and while their robust style has been criticised, Rodgers insists it is something you just have to deal with.

"I've always respected Stoke," he said. "There's no right or wrong way to play football but I think Stoke sometimes have got a lot of unfair criticism.

"How they play the game, they challenge you physically, which is fine because it is a physical sport and at the top level that is what happens.

"The players are very committed to the cause, Tony has them very well organised and has some outstanding players.

"We'll just have to deal with what the game throws at us. My focus is on ourselves; I'd rather Stoke worry about how we play.

"But at the same time you have to respect their game and the strengths that they have and combat that. At times that isn't always pretty. Sometimes you have to stand up and be counted.

"We have a mix and a balance which allows us to compete physically while also playing football.

"If you want to be a winning team, you have to have that balance."

PA

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