Please stay, Maxi! Rodgers hoping to convince Argentine to stick around
22:57 GMT, 12 July 2012
Brendan Rodgers will make one final plea to persuade Maxi Rodriguez to stay at Liverpool as the influential midfielder considers a return to Argentina.
Newell's Old Boys want to sign Rodriguez and believe they are close to completing a deal to bring him back to the club where he began his career but Liverpool boss Rodgers will not give up the fight.
Rodriguez only featured sporadically for Liverpool last season but, when he did figure, he tended to make a difference and scored six goals in 21 appearances.
Heading home Liverpool's Argentine midfielder Maxi Rodriguez
Rodgers believes the former Atletico Madrid star, 31, would flourish in the system he wants to implement and is hoping to convince Rodriguez to honour the final 12 months of his contract.
‘I would love to have him here as he is a very good player and would be very good for our squad – he will understand 120 per cent about the way I want us to play,’ said Rodgers, who hopes to conclude a deal for Roma’s Fabio Borini in the next 48 hours.
‘But sometimes there are issues that surround that; that is what I am speaking to him about. It has been difficult for his family (to settle).
‘I have had a couple of real good conversations with him. I know his thoughts and how he is thinking. It was difficult for him last season. He probably felt that he should have played a lot more.
‘We will hopefully see where he is at over the next couple of weeks and hopefully find a solution for him. But, like I say, sometimes there are other issues outside football.’
Liverpool fly out next week for a two week tour of North America and, at this stage, Rodriguez will be included in the travelling party, along with Joe Cole, who is aiming to revive his Anfield career.
Plenty to prove: Reds midfielder Joe Cole
Though Cole is well known to Rodgers from the time they worked together at Chelsea, he has made it clear the onus is on Cole to put himself back into contention after a 12-month loan with Lille.
‘These are players that haven’t featured a great deal,’ said Rodgers. ‘I am assessing everyone. I know his strengths, I know his qualities. It was difficult for him when he first came but he did well at Lille.’
There are a number of players in Liverpool players who find themselves with something to prove next season and Jordan Henderson finds himself in that bracket.
Having arrived from Sunderland for 16million, Henderson, 22, struggled to win over Liverpool’s supporters despite the fact he invariably demonstrated a willing attitude in his 48 appearances.
Where Henderson, who played twice for England at Euro 2012, will fit into Rodgers’ system remains to be seen but the manager is adamant he has the attributes to make a difference.
‘This kid can play football,’ said Rodgers. ‘If he is in a certain system, in an environment which is going to help him and educated him in the game, you will see that. The biggest thing for me that I’ve heard about Jordan is his attitude. He has got an incredible attitude.
‘If you have got a player like that who has got the ability and the thirst to learn – he can run all day, he is physically good, he is strong, he is quick – and you can remodel him, you can end up getting the value you paid.’