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Rodgers won't pin hopes on Owen

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03 Sep 2012 17:17:00

Rodgers won't pin hopes on Owen

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will not build up his hopes of getting Michael Owen, or anyone else, in as a quick fix to bolster his squad.

Sunday's 2-0 home defeat by Arsenal sent the Reds plunging into the Premier League relegation zone.

That might only be a temporary statistic.

Of far more importance was the fact Liverpool's chronic shortage of players was laid bare.

Clearly, the striking department is the most obvious cause for concern.

In the wake of Andy Carroll's departure on loan to West Ham, Rodgers has no alternatives to the overworked Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini, who appeared out of his depth as Sunday's contest unfolded.

Yet, with the transfer window closed, Rodgers' options are limited to out of contract players, of whom Michael Owen is the most notable example, but also include another former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey, who is far more like the departed Carroll.

Rodgers has not yet made any move for Owen, who is looking to tie up his future in the next week or so, and currently does not seem keen to do so.

He is also well aware owner John Henry is not keen to offer contracts to players who have limited, or non-existent resale value.

"Our group is very thin and our scouting network is certainly having a look at it," he said.

"If we strike lucky we might get something but I am not going to pin my hopes on it. There are a not many out there who could come in and really make a difference."

It is a rather bleak assessment of the situation. And one Rodgers is not convinced will get much better when the January window opens.

"The reality is not a lot is done in January," he said.

"You normally find summer is the time when most business gets done.

"I am sure we will need help because we have a very small squad and will play between 25 and 27 games with the group we have before January."

Rodgers was very careful not to criticise Henry and his advisors.

After only three games he is still revelling in the job he has been trusted with and is eager not to rock the boat.

However, he will be acutely aware that working under such severe restrictions, he needs Henry to be patient as he tries to fashion a revolution.

Of Kenny Dalglish's big-money buys, only Suarez started on Sunday.

And it is going to take far more than just Joe Allen to impose Rodgers' style on the Liverpool squad, no matter how delighted the new boss was with his former Swansea protege.

"Joe knows inside out what I want," he said.

"He is an outstanding footballer. He is a master of the ball and a great technician.

"He has game intelligence."

Unfortunately, the same could not be said of so many of Allen's team-mates.

Even skipper Steven Gerrard, so often the man Liverpool have relied upon to drag them out of a crisis, faltered, giving away the ball which allowed Arsenal to launch the flying counter-attack that brought them their opening goal.

But Rodgers has a problem, which is that it will take more than Owen, Heskey or even Didier Drogba to create the team he wants.

And in the meantime, he has to win matches in order to relieve the growing pressure.

"If you look at the way Arsenal controlled the final 20 minutes, that is something we are looking to get to," he said.

"But they are 15 years into their plan. We are a couple of months into ours.

"It will come. I have seen enough signs that we are going to improve.

"It is very important my team is full of technically gifted players who can retain the ball and understand we don't have to give it up so easily."

Meanwhile, Stoke manager Tony Pulis is still hopeful a deal can be done to sign striker Michael Owen.

Pulis wants to sign the former England international on a pay-as-you-play deal.

"I would love to sign Michael," he told The Sentinel.

"If we can do it, we will do it, and do it on the basis that we did with Jonathan Woodgate and players like that.

"If he's in the team he will get paid, and if he isn't, he won't get paid so much."


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