• Premier League

Hodgson working hard to keep star players

ESPN Soccernet staff
July 15, 2010
Roy Hodgson is understood to be in regular contact with Fernando Torres © Getty Images

Roy Hodgson is concerned some elements of the Liverpool squad are "disenchanted" as a result of a disappointing 2009-10 season, but the club is "working very hard" to ensure their best players remain at Anfield.

Liverpool failed to qualify for the Champions League last season and previous manager Rafa Benitez departed Anfield, leaving Hodgson with the task of convincing the likes of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano that they would be best served by remaining on Merseyside.

He looks to be fighting a losing battle with Mascherano as the midfielder's agent has said his client is keen to rejoin Benitez at his new club Inter Milan. Inter sporting director Marco Branca described Mascherano as a "great player" earlier on Thursday.

Real Madrid's interest in Gerrard appears to have waned though, while Torres' main focus at present is recovering from a thigh strain that has disrupted his preparation for the new season.

Hodgson realises that senior players must be convinced of Liverpool's ambition and has made doing so a key priority as the club embark on their pre-season campaign.

"We are working very hard on making certain the players we have at the club who you would call the 'good players' are going to be with us for next season," Hodgson said.

"The board are working very hard in that area. Some players are a bit disenchanted after what happened last season and we want to make sure we get that enchantment back."

Liverpool have been linked with moves for the likes of former Wigan star Paul Scharner, Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan and Ivory Coast forward Gervinho, but Hodgson is unwilling to talk about his likely targets.

"We are looking to add to and improve the squad, but I prefer not to talk or say what we are doing until we have something concrete to announce," he said. "We are being linked with players left, right and centre and it amuses me that we are sometimes linked with players we haven't even heard of.

"I have great faith in the Liverpool public that they will see through the snippets of information they may read, take it with a pinch of salt and wait for an official announcement."

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