Almost half of the Liverpool team which could line up at St. James’ Park this have Roy Hodgson to thank for saving their Anfield careers. On walking into the Liverpool job, Hodgson was handed a piece of paper by Liverpool’s former managing director, Christian Purslow. On it were the names of five players he recommended leave the club; Ryan Babel, Maxi Rodriguez, David N’Gog, Sortiris Kyrgiakos and Lucas Leiva.
Hodgson told the Daily Telegraph of his delight at the players’ roles in reviving Liverpool’s fortunes following a dreadful start to the season.
Hodgson denies transfer talk.
Speaking before the assorted media for Liverpool’s pre-match press conference, Roy Hodgson denied there was any truth to the transfer speculation involving Liverpool.
Glen Johnson, he said, would not be leaving the club. Any conjecture otherwise, he claimed, was purely invented by the media. Furthermore, bids for Luis Suarez, Ronaldinho and Ashley Young have not, contrary to rumour, been submitted.
“I could give you a long list of players who play in the Barclays Premier League who I think are very, very good,” Hodgson admitted, before continuing to scotch rumours of Liverpool’s interest in Aston Villa’s winger. “I’m afraid there is no truth in the rumour that if you asked me if any negotiations or discussions are taking place between Aston Villa and Liverpool.”
Dirk Kuyt was effusive in his praise of teammate Lucas Leiva. Speaking to skysports.com, Kuyt told of his admiration at the way the Brazilian had performed this season, transforming his reputation at Anfield. Lucas has often endured a difficult relationship with the Anfield faithful during his time on Merseyside. However, it is clear that this season his improving performances are gradually earning him respect.
“Lucas has done really well and is developing into a great player,” Kuyt said. “When things aren’t going the way you want you just have to keep working and Lucas has done that.” In particular his partnership with Raul Meireles is cause for optimism. “In the last couple of weeks he has really clicked with Raul Meireles; with Lucas holding midfielder and Raul as the passing player it has worked really well.”