Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dynamic Duo Not for Sale - Hodgson

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dynamic Duo Not for Sale - Hodgson

Article excerpt

LIVERPOOL manager Roy Hodgson has warned rivals star pair Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard are not for sale - but Javier Mascherano's future remains uncertain.

All three players have persistently been linked with big-money moves away from Anfield this summer and retaining their services is one of new manager Hodgson's top priorities.

Hodgson, who took charge a fortnight ago, met with Torres for the first time this week following the striker's return from the World Cup in South Africa.

Chelsea, Manchester City and Barcelona have all been touted as potential destinations for the 26-year-old Spaniard for fees upwards of pounds 50million.

Hodgson, speaking at his team's pre-season training camp in Switzerland, said: "As far as we are concerned he is a Liverpool player and we want him to remain a Liverpool player.

"He is not for sale and we don't welcome any offers for him. We want to keep him.

"We spoke about football, the World Cup, his injury, and I told him how much I am looking forward to working with him.

"Christian Purslow (managing director) was also at the meeting and chatted to Fernando for a lot longer after I left, but my chat with him was only about football matters."

The situation concerning Mascherano seems more problematic as Hodgson concedes he has been unable to make contact with the Argentina captain since his World Cup involvement ended. Ex-West Ham midfielder Mascherano, 26, is thought to be a target for his former Anfield boss Rafael Benitez at Inter Milan with his agent claiming the European champions are interested.

Hodgson said: "I have tried to contact Javier. I have left him voice messages and sent him texts but had no reply.

"To be fair to him, that's not unusual because he's had a tough World Cup and I believe he's gone back to Argentina.

"It's not always easy to get in touch with people. I have tried to reach him to make clear I am happy to talk with him at his convenience."

Speculation over Gerrard's status at the club has cooled following Hodgson's arrival and England's World Cup skipper has publicly backed the appointment.

Nevertheless, with new Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho a known admirer, Hodgson has felt it necessary to underline the club's stance on their talismanic 30-year-old captain. …

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