Pacheco faces Anfield exit after missed opportunity

Liverpool are ready to reduce their wage bill in January with Daniel Pacheco, the 19-year-old Spaniard considered one of the Barcelona academy's rising stars when he signed three years ago, among those manager Roy Hodgson may be prepared to lose.

The failure to maintain academy players' development between 16 and 19 has been a recurrent theme at Liverpool in recent years and Pacheco has remained inconsistent. There is considerable interest in him from Spain – including Malaga and Espanyol – and Hodgson has made it clear that the striker missed a major opportunity to impress in Liverpool's Carling Cup defeat to Northampton Town in September. Hodgson said: "He featured in that unfortunate Northampton game and it's a fact of life that it was a great opportunity for those outside the first 13 or 14 to really show me, 'You should be thinking of me'."

There is also uncertainty about the Anfield futures of defender Daniel Agger, whose calf injury continues to worry medical staff, and Ryan Babel, who claimed bizarrely on Twitter yesterday that assistant manager Sammy Lee had ordered him to stop practising during the Benitez era. Babel, whom Malaga are also tracking, wrote: "I wasn't allowed to train extra under our former manager, even when I wasn't involved. I even tried to train extra by doing it secretly, but the assistant manager came to tell me to stop."

Dr Peter Brukner, Liverpool's head of sports science, said Agger's injury, sustained by a kick to the calf on international duty, had caused calcification to a blood clot. The Dane could be a target for a Bundesliga club.

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