• Premier League

Rodgers to test Aquilani's toughness

ESPN staff
July 9, 2012

Alberto Aquilani may yet have a future at Liverpool, if he can prove to Brendan Rodgers he has the necessary strength of character to succeed in the Premier League.

Rodgers is attempting to mould his squad for the new season, and he expects to announce his first signing by the end of this week. However, there is just as much intrigue in those exiting Anfield as there is those arriving.

Aquilani failed to impress during his first spell on Merseyside, struggling with both form and injury. A loan spell in Italy last season served a reminder of his qualities, but it appears Rodgers wants the midfielder to prove he can stand up to the 38-game Premier League campaign.

"I had a good chat with Alberto the other day, he's a good guy. It obviously hasn't worked out for him here yet but he's a player with the qualities, in terms of technical and tactical ability, to play," Rodgers said during Monday's press conference.

"What's going to be important is that the players have the steel and the mindset to play - that's something I'll find out from all the players during pre-season."

Rodgers also confirmed that talks with Craig Bellamy are heading in the right direction. The veteran forward was a key man for Liverpool last season and, despite niggling injury problems, the Liverpool boss wants him to stay.

"I had a good meeting with Craig last Monday. I've known Craig for a while and we had a good opening conversation. He's 33 this week, so he's pushing on a bit, but he looks after himself well.

"I'll speak with him over the summer and we'll go from there."

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