Brendan Rodgers hints at departures for “players who want to play”

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Speaking during his pre-AFC Bournemouth press conference, Brendan Rodgers hinted at departures for a host of Liverpool players this summer.

rodgers-pre-afcb-presser

Mario Balotelli, Jose Enrique, Fabio Borini and Lucas Leiva could all leave Liverpool this summer, according to manager Brendan Rodgers.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Monday night’s home clash with AFC Bournemouth, the manager hinted at departures for “players who want to play.”

Asked about the futures of the peripheral quartet, Rodgers said: “It’s natural at this stage there will be moves, I’m sure, for some players.

“Every player is of the understanding of where he stands in the squad – the spirit’s strong, the spirit’s fine.

“There’s always going to be that speculation, but I’m sure there will be some movement for players who want to play.”

Balotelli, Enrique and Borini have all been exiled from training with the first-team squad this season, while Lucas was linked with a move away from Merseyside following his omission from last weekend’s match-day squad for the 1-0 victory away to Stoke City.

Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno, however, will continue to play a part in Liverpool’s season, despite both missing out at the Britannia Stadium.

Markovic, like Lucas, was left out of the squad, while Moreno was included on the substitutes’ bench.

On the pair, Rodgers said: “Both players are very talented players, clearly it’s why they have come here.

“Maybe for the first time in their footballing careers they will maybe find themselves not being a regular, [but] they know very well that it’s a long season and they will certainly be needed.

“It’s just about when the opportunity comes they take it and keep themselves in the team.

“They’re fighting and working well, and I’m sure they will both be ready when the opportunity comes.”

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 9, 2015: Liverpool's Joe Gomez in action against Stoke City's Jonathan Walters during the Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Moreno was kept out of the starting lineup by 18-year-old summer signing Joe Gomez, and Rodgers praised the former Charlton Athletic man for his performance at Stoke.

“I felt comfortable [to play him],” he said.

“Very quickly he showed me he can be a really important member of our squad.

“He can play in a few positions – centre-back being the main one. He’s a player who can add a great amount to our squad.”

Gomez performed comfortably at left-back, marshalling an experience opponent in Jonathan Walters, and Rodgers was happy with the spirit of the encounter, saying: “I spoke to [Jonathan] after the game and thanked him for giving him that experience!

“He’s 18 years of age, but what struck me when I first met him was his maturity. [At Charlton] his feet were very much grounded.

“He’s felt his best opportunity as a player to improve was at Liverpool.

“I’m sure there’ll be moments along the way where we’ll need to manage him, but at the moment he’s enjoying it.”

Liverpool welcome AFC Bournemouth to Anfield on Monday night, kick-off at 20:00 (BST). Follow This is Anfield for full updates on the night.

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