BRENDAN Rodgers was in no mood to hang around as the under-pressure Liverpool manager made quick work of his weekly press conference on Friday.
Rodgers is usually expansive when facing his regular inquisition from the English media, but he provided only short responses to questions ahead of Arsenal’s visit to Anfield today.
His briefing routinely lasts at least 15 minutes but Friday’s session in the press room at the club’s Melwood training ground took all of four and a half minutes.
Rodgers should have been in an upbeat mood after a morale-boosting League Cup quarter-final victory over Bournemouth in midweek.
But criticism of Liverpool and their manager has grown over the course of a disappointing season, which has seen them fall well off the pace in the Premier League title race and crash out of the Champions League in the group stage.
Rodgers is known to be unhappy about recent media coverage suggesting there is unrest in the dressing room and he was reluctant to provide anything other than cursory answers before a meeting with Arsenal that he desperately needs to win.
He did confirm Liverpool have accepted Mario Balotelli’s one-match ban, imposed on Thursday for the Italian striker’s controversial social media posting, that Brad Jones would continue in goal and that they missed out on Arsenal winger Alexis Sanchez in pre-season.
Balotelli indicated on Thursday evening his intention was to comply with the judgement of the independent panel and Rodgers admitted that was the course of action Liverpool were taking.
“We accept the ban so that’s fairly clear,” he said.
Asked about potentially signing a replacement for out-of-form Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in the January transfer window and whether he had money to spend, Rodgers said: “There’s no change. It’s not something I’m thinking about at the moment.”
Rodgers faces the prospect of his former target Sanchez returning to haunt him at Anfield today.
He had hoped to secure the Chile international as part of the deal which took Luis Suarez to Barcelona, but when that was not possible he lost a straight fight with Arsenal, with the striker preferring London over Merseyside.
“All I know is that he’s a world-class player. He was identified as someone who could come in and be perfect for us,” Rodgers said.
“He’s a brilliant player with outstanding quality and even bigger work-rate. We know he will be a threat.” AFP