Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Hodgson looks on the bright side

Roy Hodgson (top)

For Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson news that striker Fernando Torres is looking forward to another season with the Reds far outweighs the unsurprising announcement by midfielder Javier Mascherano that he wants to leave.

Mascherano returned to training on Monday and immediately told his new manager he did not want to stay. The contrast could not be greater with Torres, who has expressed his keenness to come back next week and get stuck into preparations for a new campaign with the Merseysiders.

"As far as I know he is looking forward to coming back here on Monday," said Hodgson. "He is enjoying a holiday - a well-deserved break as he has not had one for three years - spending a lot of time with his family, keeping a low profile."

If Torres fulfils that pledge, and despite much speculation about his future there is no reason to doubt he will not, it will give Liverpool a significant boost after months of uncertainty about matters on and off the pitch.

Only on Monday the latest rumour about the Spain striker was that he wanted to play in the Champions League in the coming season.

That would have represented something of a significant change of heart for the World Cup winner as even when, towards the end of the last campaign, the 26-year-old talked about Liverpool needing "four or five" new players he stressed that Europe's top club competition was not the decisive factor in determining his future.

And Hodgson said he had been given no indication that was now the case.

He added: "As far as I know he is not really speaking to anyone but he has told us that he is looking forward to Monday, looking forward to getting back to work and looking forward to playing for Liverpool next season. That is what I know so other reports, I would suggest, are erroneous."

Meanwhile, Hodgson is determined not to cave in to Mascherano's demands and has told Inter they will have to come up with a significant offer if the combative midfielder is to leave. A figure of £25million would probably be enough to secure his passage to Italy, although the Serie A club have yet to make a serious offer.

"Yes, he wants to leave the club," confirmed Hodgson. "He has made that perfectly clear. I think he wanted to leave a year ago. He wants to leave now but he is contracted to Liverpool so whether he leaves or not will be our decision."

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