Rodgers admits need for more experience in Liverpool squad


Brendan Rodgers has said there is no conflict between the dressingroom and the owners over transfer policy but admitted he shares Steven Gerrard’s and Luis Suarez’s desire for a squad with greater experience at Anfield.

The Liverpool manager wants to add leaders to “a quiet team” and is concerned that a squad that required strengthening in January is lighter than when the transfer window opened, with Joe Cole and Nuri Sahin gone and Daniel Sturridge the only incoming player.

Rodgers would relish the opportunity to sign Wesley Sneijder from Internazionale but the midfielder would have to accept a drastic reduction to his current salary of £6.5 million a year after tax and Fenway Sports Group would have to be willing to sign a 28-year-old.

Last week Gerrard revealed he disagreed with a policy of signing young players only and Suarez, in a comment largely overlooked amid his confession to diving against Stoke City, told Fox Sports Argentina: “My mentality is that with young players, you win games; with experienced players, you win championships.”

The captain’s comments prompted Ian Ayre, Liverpool’s managing director, to defend a policy that he insisted was “an aspiration” and not “set in stone”. Ayre also claimed exceptions could be made for a player who “can contribute to the group and is over that sort of age limit”.

Longer term

Rodgers, however, denies there is a divide between the playing staff and club executive over what Liverpool require. “I don’t see it as that,” he said. “Ian’s comments have come from looking at the squad. We have got some experienced players in there and we have younger players to develop. Ian is looking over the longer term. But Steven and Luis are right. It’s what I said all the way along; you need to have balance in your group. That experience is important.”

The Liverpool manager, whose side host Norwich City today, admitted transfer policy has been a source of frustration with FSG. “We will disagree and we have disagreed before, and we have moved on,” he said. But while accepting his brief to develop a young team, Rodgers believes Manchester United’s £24 million purchase of the 29-year-old Robin Van Persie underlines the value of an older head.

“I was given a job at one of the biggest clubs in the world,” he said. “That is never always going to be easy but the owners have been brilliant. They have given me some money to spend and we have brought in young players. There is no doubt they want to look at young players, those who can develop for the next seven to 10 years. But I think it is healthy not to agree. I have not got to where I am at such a young age by saying yes all the time.

Experienced players

“There are certain times when you need that experience. Look at Van Persie. You bring him in at 29 and there is absolutely no question that he reinvigorates Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes. He also gives the young players something too. If we bring in an experienced player of the right quality and the right sort, there is absolutely no question it gives Steven Gerrard a boost that he needs.”

Diving action Ferguson urges punishment

Alex Ferguson has suggested the English FA could take action against Liverpool’s Luis Suarez after he admitted to diving against Stoke City. Earlier this week Suarez said that he had purposely gone to ground during Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Stoke on October 7th.

Ferguson believes the problem with introducing concrete sanctions against diving is proving intent.

But when it was put to the Scot that the Suarez case differs because he admitted to it, Ferguson said: “That is different. They could take action but I don’t have any views on that myself to be honest. This [the issue of what to do about diving] was raised at the LMA meeting. What are the sanctions on that? Do they come from the club or the FA? I think the FA have a problem because is it legal, what they do? Can they prove that a lad has positively tried to dive? It is a very difficult one.”

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