Hodgson issues warning to Liverpool players

By Carl Markham,Pa
Sunday 23 October 2011 08:11
Hodgson plans to clear the dead wood at Anfield
Hodgson plans to clear the dead wood at Anfield

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has warned players if they have nothing to offer either the current first team or the future of the club then they will be shipped out of Anfield.

The 62-year-old has already cut down on personnel he believes to be surplus to requirements and has not ruled out further exits in the coming months.

Since taking over from predecessor Rafael Benitez, Hodgson has allowed the likes of Alberto Aquilani, Emiliano Insua, Albert Riera, Diego Cavalieri, Philipp Degen, Nabil El Zhar, Krisztian Nemeth and Damien Plessis to leave, either permanently or on loan.

Midfielders Javier Mascherano and Yossi Benayoun also departed, although that was their choice and not the manager's.

Hodgson has, in the meantime, bolstered the British and home-grown quota at Anfield with the arrivals of Joe Cole, Paul Konchesky, Brad Jones, Danny Wilson, while also signing the proven quality of Denmark's Christian Poulsen and Portugal international Raul Meireles.

And the Liverpool boss is keen to see the club move towards a leaner, more competitive, existence where no-one is allowed to tread water.

"We were unbelievably over-staffed when I came to the club and, if the truth be known, we still are over-staffed," said Hodgson.

"It was just as big a job making sure some of the players who never feature for the first team move on and that we limit our squad to players who are either in the frame to play first-team football or who have a bright future who are still anxious to play academy and reserve team football.

"We don't want that middle group who are too old for reserve football but are not serving any purpose for the first team because they never feature."

It could be argued that because of Liverpool's current financial position, with the club still up for sale and no immediate sign of a change of ownership, the need for pruning the playing staff was a necessity.

However, Hodgson has openly declared his intentions of where he wants to take the club in terms of the types of players he is looking for.

He believes his transfer activity this summer, while not spending a huge amount on fees, has achieved some of those objectives - especially bringing in Cole plus the late arrivals of Meireles and Konchesky.

"We should be very happy. A lot of hard work has gone in and you have to mention Christian Purslow (managing director) and Eduardo Macia (chief scout)," said the former Fulham boss.

"Both worked really hard during the transfer window to do the deals I wanted to happen but also to do deals for quite a few players to leave the club.

"It was important to sign a quality midfielder when we lost Javier.

"We had half-prepared for his departure by jumping in to sign Christian Poulsen when he became available, but it was important for us to keep strong in that area.

"We loaned out Alberto Aquilani and so we are pleased to have been able to bring in Meireles.

"He is experienced in the Champions League, in international football, has had proven success at Porto and is an all-round midfielder who is capable of playing in all three of the central midfield positions.

"He has a pedigree which we researched, followed and studied. I followed him at my previous club so it was good when I heard he could be available and that we could do the business quickly."

Hodgson also revealed that Konchesky basically forced Fulham to sell him once Liverpool had made their approach.

"It was difficult because Fulham were anxious to keep him and were against letting him go," he added.

"Our good fortune was he was in the last year of his contract and he made it clear that if they didn't let him go he wouldn't sign a new contract.

"That was useful for us because otherwise it would have been very difficult to get him.

"There aren't many quality left-backs around in the world, never mind in England, so to find an English one who can go straight into the team without any adjustment problems is a big advantage.

"He is a player I know and have worked with and he knows the way we try to play and the things we try to do.

"That's another little advantage, but the main reason for bringing him here is because we think he's a good player and he's the right man for the job."

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments