Torres and Reina won't insult fans by bailing - says Roy
Published 23:00 29/10/10 By David Maddock
Roy Hodgson insists Pepe Reina and Fernando Torres won’t insult Liverpool by leaving his struggling club in the lurch.
The Reds boss yesterday dismissed claims that the Spanish stars could quit Anfield in January, despite revelations this week they both have release clauses in their contracts.
Hodgson argued that neither star would ever consider offering the “greatest insult” to Liverpool fans, by looking to bale out as soon as the going got tough.
“The short answer is no, I’m not concerned about losing either player at all. I can tell you Torres and Reina are training very well, and if they are unhappy and if they are wanting to get away they are making a damn good job of disguising it.”
“They are great favourites with the Liverpool fans and I can’t imagine for one minute they would insult Liverpool fans in any way by suggesting ‘we are unhappy, and we are only here for the good times’.”
Hodgson has spoken with both players in the week, and watched them closely in training ahead of tomorrow’s match at Bolton, and he revealed yesterday the two big-name internationals are completely committed to their Merseyside club.
“They are not the type of characters who would kick off half way through a season. In training every day and in the matches their commitment seems to me to be as strong as ever.
“Both of them, I’m sure, are as committed as I am to getting us high up the table and making sure the good times start again.”
Torres did express grave doubts about the direction the club was taking in the summer, and was linked with a departure to Barcelona, before he eventually committed his future to Anfield.
Reina, for his part, has been linked with several clubs, but signed a new five year contract only last April, and has always insisted he will not desert Liverpool, even if times are hard.
And Hodgson believes that the brighter future offered by the takeover of the club by Boston Red Sox owners NESV, will provide the stability and brighter future both players need to commit their careers to Anfield.
But he also warned Liverpool's stars that they have agreed big money contracts which demand they remain as committed as much during the bad times as good.
"Yes, the takeover provides the stability, I believe, to remove any fears over the positions of the likes of Torres and Reina," the manager explained.
“There is no way the club is interested in selling those players or will be looking to sell them at any time. The owners have perfectly clear in their statement they do not want to sell, they want to keep the good players we have and add other good players so we become stronger.
“The most important thing for the players here is for them to recognise their responsibilities playing for a club like Liverpool. That might mean playing for a club like Liverpool in the good times and playing for a club like Liverpool in the bad times.
“But you are playing for Liverpool and your responsibility is to go out and give good performances.”
Liverpool face a tricky visit to Bolton on Sunday knowing that it represents another potential banana skin in what has been a tricky season so far.
Chelsea and Arsenal have lost there in recent seasons, and few sides leave with victory, but nothing less than that is demanded from a Reds side that is stuck in the bottom three of the Premier League.
Hodgson though, knows that it will be a long, hard grind this season as he tries to turn the club around, and even admitted that the January transfer window may not offer too much salvation from the current problems.
“We all know January is often a market for clubs trying to move on players they don’t want. I don’t want to be taking people's left overs. We’ve got those type of players ourselves. If we are going to improve we need better,” he said.
“We need to look carefully at what we are doing and not jump in. We can’t afford to panic. We have identified areas where we need to strengthen the squad, and I don’t mean the first XI, I mean the strength below that is nowhere near where we need it to be, certainly not as strong as our famous rivals.
“There is a new air of optimism because of the new owners but I don’t wish to rush out and sign four new players on big contracts in January and then realise or say to them next summer that they were not my first choices.
“All experienced managers recognise the January market is a dangerous one because clubs have good players you might like to sign but they are reluctant to let them go until the summer when they can buy replacements.”