Brendan Rodgers denies Liverpool squad is divided

Manager says ‘spirit is very strong’ in dressing room despite poor form this season

Brendan Rodgers says there is no unrest inside the Liverpool dressing room despite the club's miserable campaign.

Liverpool head to Bournemouth, the Championship leaders, in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday, with scrutiny on the unity of Rodgers's team. The Liverpool manager admitted after Sunday's 3-0 defeat at Manchester United that the squad "needed to recapture the team ethos" and that there are always issues within a dressing room.

Speaking at his pre-Bournemouth press conference on Tuesday, Rodgers confirmed there is discontent within the Liverpool squad but only as a consequence of the team’s dramatic downturn in results this season. He denied presiding over a squad divided by unrest.

“Our dressing room is very strong,” said Rodgers. “We are very fortunate to have a captain who is a strong leader in dressing room and that has been very important during my time here. Unrest is totally untrue. Of course we are unhappy at not winning games, these are competitive players who almost won the league last year and they won’t be happy at losing because they are competitive people. Our spirit is very strong and, once we get that break, we will show that.”

Mario Balotelli is a doubt for the cup tie with the groin problem that ruled him out of six matches before his comeback at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Former Liverpool captain Paul Ince has claimed Balotelli should be sold as he could be a disruptive influence on Rodgers's squad. But the manager responded: "At the moment you hear a lot of opinions about Liverpool. Paul is someone I respect as a wonderful player and he managed himself, so he knows the pressures of management. Mario is here and my job is to maximise what I can get out of Mario, and it's the same with every player."

Glen Johnson misses the trip to Dean Court with the groin injury he suffered against United.

Guardian Service