at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Brendan Rodgers will consider a move for Michael Owen after seeing his goal-shy side comprehensively beaten by Arsenal at Anfield.
The Liverpool manager admitted he would never have let Andy Carroll go to West Ham on loan had he known he would not be replaced. His team looked desperately short of firepower as goals from two of Arsene Wenger’s new signings, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, won the game for Arsenal.
Rodgers is so short of options up front that he is prepared to approach Owen to discuss a controversial return to Anfield, eight years after the striker left for Real Madrid.
He scored 158 goals in 297 appearances between 1997 and 2004 but his move to Manchester United in 2009 was badly received on The Kop.
Stoke have been pursuing Owen, who is a free agent after leaving Manchester United, and have offered him a two-year deal worth in the region of £1.5million a season.
Sunderland have also shown interest but Owen, 32, wants to stay in the North West and the chance to rejoin Liverpool may be impossible to resist.
Rodgers needs to bolster his ranks and, after seeing Tottenham hijack the signing of Clint Dempsey, he is considering drastic measures, though there is little chance of offering Didier Drogba a return from an unhappy spell in China.
Rodgers said: “Any player that I believe can improve the squad, I will look at. We have got a very small group here.
“There were 19 players training on Saturday morning, with some very young players among them. I have to look at ways to change the group. We need a reinforcement, that’s obvious.”
Liverpool lost out to Tottenham after they offered only £3m for Dempsey on deadline day and Fulham are understood to be furious with how Liverpool conducted their attempts to sign the American.
It had appeared that off-loading Carroll, as well as Charlie Adam and Jay Spearing, would clear space for Dempsey and a possible loan move for Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge – but the club’s American owners were reluctant to pay a fee for a 29-year-old.
When asked if he would have let Carroll go on loan to West Ham, knowing what he would be left with, Rodgers simply replied: “No.” A clause in the deal that took Carroll to Upton Park could see him recalled to Anfield in January but, clearly, a tense situation has developed after Fenway Sports Group refused to back Rodgers’s judgment on Dempsey.
He has spoken to John W Henry and Tom Werner since the window closed and more talks will take place this week, though there is no suggestion Rodgers would quit as Liverpool manager after just four months.
“It’s been a big learning curve for the owners,” said Rodgers. “They have come in and invested over £100m in the club. They have made big changes for whatever reason and one of the most iconic figures in Liverpool’s history (Kenny Dalglish) has left the club.
“They have made a commitment to have me here for the long term. There are one or two things that we have to iron out. But they have been very honest and I don’t feel they have misled me in any way.
“I have laid out my thoughts. We have had a couple of brief conversations about what might happen in January and we will reflect on that again next week.”
Unlike last season, when Arsenal won at Anfield in fortuitous circumstances, the visitors were comfortable winners on Sunday after goals either side of half-time from Podolski and Cazorla.
Wenger said: “Podolski is deadly when he gets a chance. When you have good spirit and good work-rate in the team, you always have possibilities. I am very pleased with the potential of this team. We have a good feeling.” – Daily Mail