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Monday 11 December 2017

Rodgers won't be distracted

Brendan Rodgers. Picture: Liam McBurney/PA
Brendan Rodgers. Picture: Liam McBurney/PA

LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers insists his side will not be distracted by the ongoing Luis Suarez transfer saga as they prepare to get their Premier League challenge under way.

The Reds kick off the new Premier League season against Stoke with the future of their wantaway striker – hotly and publicly pursued by Arsenal – still uncertain. But Rodgers has backed his side to put off-field issues to the back of their minds and shine on the pitch. "There's too much good work gone on here for it to be overtaken by anything else," Rodgers said.

"The players have worked so hard, their concentration has been brilliant and we are all very determined this year. I can't let anything detract from that. Nothing can sabotage what we are trying to do. I don't really want to go on about it. It's just something we cannot afford to happen."

Rodgers believes he starts the new season with a stronger squad than 12 months ago.

"I think in every way the group is stronger and we still hope to add one or two more before the window closes," he said. "Everyone has adapted to the way we work and there is a lot of stability at the club."

 

MICHU NOT FOR SALE: LAUDRUP

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has told Arsenal even a "ridiculous" offer would not be enough to prise Michu away from the Liberty Stadium.

The Gunners have so far been frustrated in their efforts to bring in Luis Suarez from Liverpool and are reportedly considering alternatives as Arsene Wenger looks to bolster his forward options.

Michu is thought to be one of those alternatives after the 27-year-old Spaniard enjoyed a stunning first season in English football with the Swans, scoring 22 goals after his £2.2million move from Rayo Vallecano.

"I think economically the club is very good," said Laudrup. "I know if they (Arsenal) came in with a very late bid, I know that the reaction from the board and chairman will be 'No', even if the money is ridiculous, as we will not have time enough to find a replacement who is near enough to the same standard.

"I spoke to Michu last year and he extended his contract and asked me about mine and I said 'I am going to stay here', and he said, 'So am I'."

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