Rodgers insists Liverpool goalkeeper Reina is not for sale

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has dismissed speculation stating that the club would be willing to listen to offers for goalkeeper Pepe Reina in January.

The 30-year-old Spanish international has been the club’s first choice since arriving at Anfield under former manager Rafael Benitez back in 2005, but his form has attracted criticism over the past year.

As exclusively revealed by Goal.com, Arsenal have made Reina their top January transfer target, but Rodgers insists he will stay at Anfield.

“There’s nothing whatsoever in any of those stories about Pepe,” the Northern Irish coach told the club’s official website.

“I want to make it 150 per cent clear because I’ve read about goalkeepers linked and him leaving.

“This is a guy who is in a real good moment. He is the No.1 keeper for Liverpool. Yes, he will admit it himself, he probably had a difficult couple of years but he now has a sense of his best years are in front of him, not behind him.

“He has lost weight, he looks fresh, he looks bright and he is doing extra work. It is a great step forward for him and his commitment in terms of him staying at Liverpool.

“At this very moment in time he has three years left on his contract and I think he has his best years ahead of him.

“Now he is committed to the plan of what we are all trying to do which is to fight every single day and there is nobody fighting harder than him at the minute.

“Pepe is a wonderful guy, a real team player and we have seen in the last number of games he is really getting up to speed and he will be a very important part of how we work.”

With Reina sidelined for a short period with a hamstring injury this season, Rodgers put deputy Brad Jones straight into the side and his performances have convinced the Reds boss that he has more than enough depth in the position going forward.

He added: “I am not on the lookout for another goalkeeper and any areas we look to improve will be in other areas.

“Of course you are always looking for talent but what we have is one of the best No.1 keepers in the Premier League in Pepe Reina, and then Brad Jones, who was a No.3 or No.4 keeper here but has really kicked on since the summer.

“In the games Brad has played he’s showed he is a very loyal and supportive No.2. Our job then below that is to ensure we have top young talents who can then hopefully challenge at the top end.

“Brad is another one I would like to keep. His contract is something we are looking at at the moment.”

Villas-Boas travels to watch Porto and Tottenham transfer target Moutinho play

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed that he travelled to watch former club Porto play in the Champions League on Wednesday evening, fuelling further speculation about a potential move for Joao Moutinho.

The north London club failed in a deadline day bid for the 26-year-old Portugal international during the summer transfer window as they sought to replace the influential Luka Modric, who departed for Spanish champions Real Madrid.

With the club not in action until Thursday evening against Panathinaikos, Villas-Boas took the opportunity to watch Paris Saint-Germain beat Porto 2-1 in the French capital, with the manager attempting to play down the visit as anything out of the ordinary.

“Whenever Porto are close to the place where I am, I go see them,” Villas-Boas told the Daily Mirror.

“I went to see them last season against Manchester City and took the opportunity to go and see them again against PSG.

“It was a tiring trip, but good to see people that are important to me.”

Tottenham sit in second place in Group J and should they avoid defeat against their Greek opponents at White Hart Lane, they will qualify for the next stage of the Europa League, along with Lazio.

Liverpool tracking Wolves striking starlet McAlinden

EXCLUSIVE
By Liam Twomey

Liverpool are monitoring the progress of Wolves starlet Liam McAlinden, Goal.com has learned.

Championship high-fliers Crystal Palace and Leeds United are also understood to be tracking the 19-year-old striker, who has netted seven goals in 11 Under-21 Premier League matches this season.

McAlinden, who joined Wolves’ youth ranks at the age of eight, remains highly rated by the club but has yet to commit to an extension of his current contract, which expires next summer.

Any attempts to sign McAlinden as a free agent at the end of the season, however, could be scuppered by the fact that Wolves would still be entitled to compensation as the player is under 24 years of age, unless they were to decide to release his registration.

As such, the Northern Ireland Under-21 international could well find himself the subject of more immediate offers when the transfer window opens in January.

Liverpool’s lack of striking options in the wake of loaning Andy Carroll to West Ham have been well documented, but it is unlikely that McAlinden would feature in their first-team plans this season.

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Mikel signs new five-year deal with Chelsea

John Obi Mikel has penned a new five-year contract with Chelsea, committing his future to the Premier League club until 2017.

The 25-year-old joined the west London outfit as a teenager in 2006 for a fee of £16 million, with the club having to pay Manchester United £12m after they had an agreement to sign the midfielder first.

Since then, the Nigerian has gone on to make 261 appearances for the Blues, starting 213, but has only netted twice.

He was also awarded the Young Player of the Year in his first season, as well as winning honours included four FA Cup medals, one Premier League title and the Champions League last season.

The defensive midfielder labelled Stamford Bridge as his “home”, while insisting that he is just hitting his “peak” as he aims to secure more silverware with the club in the coming years.

“Chelsea seems like my home now because I have been here for over six years and I enjoy my time here,” he told the club’s official website.

“I come into the training ground every day to work and I value my time there. I am happy and want to keep going and win trophies for this club.

“I have basically won everything with Chelsea and those years have been really special for me, winning trophies with big names like Didier Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard who have had very long Chelsea careers.

“Last season to win the Champions League was even more special and I hope these next five years will bring even more success and I can win trophies with the new players we have here.

“Being 25 I think I am now hitting my peak but as a player you want to improve every day and there is still room for that. I want to learn from the players and the manager and I just want to keep going.”

BREAKING NEWS: Mikel signs new five-year deal with Chelsea

John Obi Mikel has penned a new five-year contract with Chelsea, committing his future to the Premier League club until 2017.

The 25-year-old joined the west London outfit as a teenager in 2006 for a fee of £16 million, with the club having to pay Manchester United £12m after they had an agreement to sign the midfielder first.

Since then, the Nigerian has gone on to make 261 appearances for the Blues, starting 213, but has only netted twice.

More to follow…