Liverpool FC boss Brendan Rodgers spoke to the press ahead of his side’s fourth round replay against Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup.
The Reds were held to a 0-0 stalemate against Bolton Wanderers in the match at Anfield and now have to faith the Championship side at in a replay to determine who would progress further in the domestic competition.
Brendan Rodgers was quizzed on several matters in the pre-match press conference but due to it being the winter transfer window deadline day, his response to Liverpool’s winter transfer activity, or lack of, was the one that stood out the most. The Northern Irishman claimed that the early recall of Jordan Ibe from a successful loan spell at Derby County was a solid winter addition for his side, and that the club doesn’t necessarily have to look outside if the quality desired is not available.
“It depends in the moment you are in. Last year we didn’t do any business either,” he said.
Certainly, from my perspective, I don’t like to stockpile players. I’d rather look at our young players in the Academy and see if we can bring them through.
“That was the case this window with young Jordon Ibe, who has been excellent away at Derby. We needed another player to come into the squad in that area, so rather than looking to bring in a more senior player, we’ve got young players that were developing here very well. Jordon has come in and looked fantastic since he’s been back at the club.
“That’s the first thought – look from within. Of course, you always have to look for that star quality and if it’s not available, you work with what you’ve got.”
Rodgers heaped plenty of praise on Philippe Coutinho, a player who has looked fantastic in recent outings. The Brazilian had a great pre-season with the club, but looked increasingly out of sorts at the beginning of the season. However, he has been in amazing form of late and set up both the goals in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over West Ham last weekend.
“We have seen young Phil come into his own in the last couple of months purely because of the movement in front of him,” said the Reds boss.
“He is in a really good moment, his rhythm in his game is good, having a lot of game time, and we’re trying to manage him because he is playing a lot but his performance level is at a really high level. He still has areas to improve in his goalscoring ability but if he can do that he will get into that bracket of ‘world class’.”
Despite Daniel Sturridge scoring on his return after five months, against West Ham, Rodgers said that the player won’t be starting games for a while, as his game and fitness needs to be managed at the moment.
“The beauty of him is he is such a good player he makes other players better,” said Rodgers. “When he came on he lifted other players and that is what good players do. Daniel coming back for the second part of the season will be a real help for us.”
“It is a process with Daniel; he has been out a long time and only returned to training last week but you need to be careful with him. We will manage his time and he will build up towards 90 minutes. He is working hard in training but it is clear to see he is not at that stage yet but he is ready to play a part in the games. There is no timeline on it, it is just him getting some hard work in and getting that base of fitness. He has a good level of fitness so it is just the football fitness and he will get that through playing games.”
The Liverpool boss also said that he doesn’t need his two midfielders – Jordan Henderson and Lucas Leiva – scoring goals.
Our two controlling midfielders don’t need to contribute goals,” said Rodgers.
“If you are playing with Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson there are five others players we want to score. Their role in the team will be to secure the team and at times look to break forward. If we played a different system with a different function then yes but currently it is not a demand for them at this moment.”