A WEEK into his reign, new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is confident of persuading captain Steven Gerrard and striker Fernando Torres they can have successful futures at the club.
The pair have both been linked with moves away from Anfield in the wake of a disappointing season which saw early exits from the Champions League and FA Cups and a seventh-placed finish in the Barclays Premier League.
Hodgson made speaking to Gerrard and vice-captain Jamie Carragher a priority when he took over from Rafael Benitez seven days ago and only Torres’ continued World Cup participation has prevented him meeting the Spain international.
The 62-year-old is keen to hang on to as many as possible of his first-team squad.
Gerrard and Torres are the key men who need to be persuaded to stick around, and Hodgson is optimistic on both fronts.
“I anticipate there might be a situation where other big clubs will try to sign Steven but he gave no indication that he wanted to leave,” said the Reds boss.
“Nobody at the club wants him to go so I will be doing my utmost to make sure he stays. I am confident he will.
“Fernando is a wonderful striker and I understand the fans’ concerns about his future.
“Unfortunately with the World Cup still on I won’t be able to meet him face to face for another few weeks – that’s just circumstance and you won’t hear me complaining about it.
“When I do meet him I will be doing everything I possibly can to convince him that Liverpool is the place to be.
“If he sees progress I am confident that he won’t want to go anywhere else. I think he understands the club and the city.”
With just three weeks until Liverpool’s first competitive match – in the Europa League third qualifying round – Hodgson has been keen to get up to speed as quickly as possible after his move from Fulham.
He has spoken to the players and many of the backroom staff while also trying to involve club legend and ambassador Kenny Dalglish in a more proactive role linking the academy with the first team.
“I think the meetings went splendidly,” added the former Fulham manager. “I was very happy to meet the players – and of course Kenny, who I already know so well.
“I was delighted to see how positive they are. Everybody is looking forward to the new season.”
The meeting with Dalglish could have been an awkward one considering the ex-player and manager put his name forward for the job when Benitez left a month ago.
However, that suggestion was dismissed by the board and Hodgson hopes his previously good relationship with the Scot can benefit the club in terms of helping to get more local talent coming through the ranks.
“Kenny’s been offered a role which I believe is a crucial role for the club – not just in the short term but in the long term,” Hodgson said.
“He is very aware of all the players at the academy and I understand there are a few promising players emerging.
“He will liaise between Melwood (the first-team training ground) and Kirkby (the academy) and keep me updated with any developments that he deems necessary.
“There is a bridge between the academy and the first team that needs to be created and I believe he can help build that bridge.”
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