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Page last updated at 22:16 GMT, Thursday, 5 August 2010 23:16 UK

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson not fazed by buyout talk

Roy Hodgson
Hodgson's Liverpool side enjoyed a comfortable night's work against Rabotnicki

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson insists speculation over the club's future ownership will not affect his side's focus on the new season.

Various groups are said to be bidding to take over from American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett at Anfield.

But speaking after the Reds' Europa League win over Rabotnicki, Hodgson said: "When and if a takeover takes place, I'm sure I will be informed.

"The interesting thing for me was the game, that has been my total focus."

Liverpool won 2-0 at Anfield with goals through David Ngog and Steven Gerrard to complete a comfortable 4-0 aggregate win over Macedonian outfit Rabotnicki.

It means they go into Friday's draw for the Europa League play-offs alongside Premier League rivals Manchester City and Aston Villa.

However, events off the pitch dominated much of the pre- and post-match talk, following rumours that the Chinese government could be linked to a takeover bid for the club.

Reports suggested Kenny Huang, who has declared an interest in buying the club, is being backed by the state-funded China Investment Corporation (CIC), while Syrian Yahya Kirdi has claimed he is in pole position to become the new owner.

But Hodgson refused to be drawn on the speculation, simply warning of the dangers a drawn-out takeover process could pose for the club.

"We have made some signings so far and we hope to bring in at least a couple of other players," he said.


"I think the danger would be in a late takeover. That money would be made available but we wouldn't have had a chance to research the players in this transfer window.

"We are doing our research in this window and targeting players that the club is able to buy.

"If one day an enormous amount of money is made available like it was for Manchester City and Chelsea so be it, it would be nice.

"But we would still have to do a lot of research before we started splashing that money around.

"It is not a question of how much a player costs, it is how good he is."

And the new Reds boss was only slightly more effusive in his praise of Liverpool's performance - their second win in their second competitive match under Hodgson.

"I am perfectly satisfied," he said.

"We played some very attractive football and created lots of chances, more than the scoreline suggests.

"We kept our discipline and that was important too because it is so easy in these games to lose your way and for people to start doing things you don't want them doing."

Joe Cole, however, did come in for praise after a stand-out display behind as part of a three-man attack behind frontman Ngog.

"Joe is desperate to play," said Hodgson. "He came here because he thought he might get the opportunity to start more games than he did at Chelsea.

"He is an enthusiastic and effervescent footballer and the more he plays the happier he is. His energy and enthusiasm tonight meant he had a really good home debut."

Defender Jamie Carragher had words of praise for Cole, too, after the playmaker received a hero's welcome from the Anfield crowd.

Joe Cole
Cole produced a stand-out performance on his Anfield debut

"I thought Joe was brilliant, it was a great performance," said the centre-half. "We've probably been written off a bit over the summer but I think we all believe we can improve on last season.

"With the addition of Joe, the news about Steve (Gerrard) and Fernando (Torres) staying and hopefully one or two coming in, there's a bit more of a feel-good factor. It's positive."

Cole, meanwhile, was just happy to have continued to build his fitness ahead of the new season, saying: "It was good, I was nervous before the game but it's always like that when you go to a new club.

"It was good to get 90 minutes in and get the win in the end. The main difference (at Anfield as a Liverpool player) is that I wasn't getting too much stick! That's different.

"I ran out of petrol a bit with 20 minutes to go but it was needed. It would've been nice to score but I'm sure that will come soon."

Meanwhile, Liverpool right-back Philipp Degen looks set to join Stuttgart on a season-long loan, providing he passes a medical at the German club on Friday.

The 27-year-old Swiss international moved to Anfield on a free transfer in 2008 from Borussia Dortmund.

The move would see him reunited with Stuttgart coach Christian Gross, who he played under at Basel earlier in his career.

Stuttgart finished sixth in the Bundesliga last season, which qualified them for the Europa League.

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see also
Liverpool 2-0 Rabotnicki (4-0)
05 Aug 10 |  Europe
Spurs face Young Boys in play-off
06 Aug 10 |  Europe
Huang confirms bid for Liverpool
06 Aug 10 |  Liverpool

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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES Hodgson not drawn on Young move - 50 mins ago
Telegraph Manchester City have the money but Liverpool the class in Fernando Torres - 1 hr ago Carragher Set For New Reds Deal - 4 hrs ago
Sky News Today's FT Column: Trophy Status Wanes As Liverpool's Owners Walk Alone - 12 hrs ago
Arab Times Liverpool coast into Europa play-offs - 15 hrs ago


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