Belfast Telegraph

Overseas interest in Johnson

Liverpool defender Glen Johnson has no idea where he will be next season but it appears increasingly likely he will move overseas as his representatives have already held exploratory talks with foreign clubs.

The 30-year-old is out of contract in the summer and negotiations over a new deal stalled at the beginning of the season and have never got going again.

In January manager Brendan Rodgers said he was hopeful a solution could be found to keep the England international but with Johnson having lost his first-team place in the 3-4-2-1 formation which has been so successful since the turn of the year that now looks less likely.

He has long been linked with a move abroad - he has been free to talk to overseas clubs since January 1 - and the defender admits there have been discussions.

Asked about his contract situation with Liverpool Johnson said: "No talks. At this point I have no idea (where I will be next season). I haven't thought about it."

On his option to explore a move overseas he added: "There are talks. It would be great for the kids to go abroad but I am not thinking about yet as we have two months left here and I'll think about it after that.

"We will have to wait and see."

Ironically Johnson made his first start in 12 matches in Sunday's goalless FA Cup quarter-final draw at home to mid-tabled SkyBet Championship Blackburn.

The team's performance was so alien to what fans have become accustomed to seeing since the turn of the year there were understandably some grumbles at Anfield but Johnson said it is inevitable players will be criticised when they fail to reach the high standards they have set themselves.

Unbeaten in the Premier League since January 1 and playing football lauded as currently the best in the land has set a benchmark which is not always easy to achieve.

Rovers stuck to their game plan of nullifying the threat of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana, Liverpool's two playmakers behind the striker, and were rewarded with a replay next month at Ewood Park - where they have already beaten Swansea and Stoke in the competition.

"That's football. You aren't going to play to the best of your ability in every game," said Johnson.

"Whether you play well or not, the most important thing is that you don't go out of the cup. We're still in the draw and we can still win the tie.

"It was frustrating. Everyone wanted to win the game but the most important thing is that we're in the hat for the semi-finals.

"You've got to give Blackburn a lot of credit because they worked hard. They got men behind the ball.

"Hopefully we'll play better in the replay and get the win we want.

"The fixture list isn't too crowded for us now so having a replay isn't a big problem.

"We've got plenty of time on the training ground in between matches to work on things now.

"We're still confident we can go through. Hopefully we can pick up our perf ormance and go through in the replay."

Blackburn's performance was not just a resilient one as for a long period in the first half they dominated the match despite having made seven changes but what did not help Liverpool was the state of the Anfield pitch, which is in desperate need of an overhaul.

"It slowed us down a bit but we can't make excuses. We just didn't play to our best. That happens sometimes. They played well and made it tough," added Johnson.

"Without doubt it's the worst it's been during my time at Liverpool. It's the same pitch for both sides. You have to watch your touch more because it bobbles so much and it's harder for the likes of Philippe and Raheem (Sterling) to dribble with the ball.

"It slows everything down because the bounce is so irregular. It's different every time.

"It takes a bit more concentration and it's harder to play one touch football which is what you need to open these teams up from around the box."

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