• Premier League

Rodgers keen on long-term Liverpool stay

ESPN staff
February 11, 2014
Rodgers defers title talk again

Brendan Rodgers wants to extend his Liverpool contract but has revealed the club's owners have yet to open talks over his future.

He took charge of Liverpool in the summer of 2012, tasked with securing a top-four finish for the first time since Rafa Benitez's team finished as runners-up in 2009.

Liverpool are currently fourth, three points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, and should Rodgers restore Champions League football to Anfield, an extension to his current contract appears inevitable.

However, he has entered the final 18 months of his contract and made it clear that he is keen on a new deal. Rodgers said: "The club knows my feelings in that I love it here and hopefully - if I can progress and be good and everyone is happy - stay here.

"If it's not to be for the owners and they want a different direction at the end of it, I will have done my best."

Asked what conversations there have been with regard his future, Rodgers replied: "Nothing whatsoever.

"I have, after this year, one more year to go. I have always said I am very happy here and we're just over halfway through that contract and it is not something that comes into my thinking.

"If I was to never get offered one, I would give my life to the last day of that contract. In the meantime, until anyone says otherwise or wants to reward the staff or myself for our work, then we keep working as normal and see where it takes us.

"The option is for the club for the fourth year, but in all fairness there is a point next year where the club has to let me know whether they want to keep me on or not."

Rodgers, who insists Liverpool are not in the title race, said his conversations with Fenway Sports Group have focused on the team rather than him.

"I have regular contact with the owners and it is never mentioned," he said. "I talk more about players. My ambition is more for the club so I want the players tied up so we can keep the best players and get players in."

One such player Rodgers wants - and expects - to be tied to a long-term contract is Jordan Henderson, who will wear a plaster cast for Wednesday's trip to Fulham after fracturing a wrist during the 5-1 win over Arsenal.

"The way he is working, we would want to secure his services," said Rodgers of the midfielder who has two years left on his Liverpool deal.

"He still has all his best years ahead of him and you can see his growth and development. He will want to get better and I'm sure it is in the interests of the club to tie him down."

Although the former Swansea City boss believes his squad is still a work-in-progress, he is confident that the young players at his disposal can cope with the pressure of challenging for a top-four spot.

As evidence of their mental strength, Rodgers pointed to the 5-0 victory at Tottenham in mid-December as well as the more recent 4-0 win over Everton and 5-1 success against Arsenal.

"If you are talking about 'Can they cope with pressure?' then you look at the last few games we've had - Tottenham away, Everton at home, the game on Saturday," he said. "That [pressure] can only hurt you if you let it. If you read into things like that too much and listen to too many outside influences or the background noise that goes on then it can hurt you.

"I have never been one who has let anything like that affect what I have done in my life and that is the message I will put across to the players. My job is to release the pressure from them so they can play and organise their work."

He added: "We have Raheem Sterling at 19, Jon Flanagan at 20, Jordan Henderson at 23 and Philippe Coutinho at 21 -- it is not affecting them because they are concentrating on their performance.

"I have a great belief in the players I have here and we want to build on that but I take great pride in making people better on the field and helping them off it. I look at Jon Flanagan and his development as a young player since I have been here. He is an absolutely outstanding character and he has gone into the big pressure games and been outstanding.

"Many of our other young players -- Jordon Ibe is 18 and came off the bench against Arsenal -- have been excellent."

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