Hodgson: Liverpool aiming for the best
Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson will take his struggling squad to play Bolton Wanderers on Sunday convinced the Reds are still a top option for the world's greatest players.
Despite sitting in the Premier League relegation zone after just two wins so far this season, Hodgson is adamant the lure of a move to Anfield will be enough to help him strengthen his squad with some top-class additions when the transfer window reopens in January.
Since replacing Rafa Benitez in the close-season, Hodgson has never hidden his concerns about the weakness of his squad, something this season's results seem to support, and he is determined to bring in several new signings.
However, after discussions with Liverpool's new owners, New England Sports Ventures (NESV), Hodgson is also refusing to be held to ransom in his bid to help Liverpool return to the summit of English football.
Liverpool co-owner John W Henry has reassured the club's fans that none of their current crop of top stars are going anywhere in January and Hodgson is confident he can buy - but only when Liverpool's valuation of a player is met.
"If we want the right quality, we have got to be prepared to pay the right price," he said. "The owners know that perfectly well. We have got to make certain that if we go out and spend £20m, we are getting a £20m player.
"We want to be attracting the players that Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter are chasing. It would be nice to think that we can shop at a high level. I'm like all managers in that I'm wary of the January transfer window. I think it can be dangerous as clubs try to correct mistakes.
"But, having said that, we are going to be very interested in trying to improve our squad in January. There is no question about that. I am sure we will sign players."
In what would have been a surprise at the start of the season, Bolton sit in the top half of the table while Liverpool are struggling at the bottom and Hodgson is full of praise for the job that Owen Coyle has done at the club since joining from Burnley last season.
"I respect Bolton as a side and as a football club," he added. "They are an established Premier League side and deserve to be. Sam Allardyce started it and Owen Coyle has kept that going and it will not be an easy encounter."
Despite being above Liverpool in the league, Coyle is refusing to take the encounter for granted and urged Liverpool to give Hodgson time to turn around the club's current situation.
"Liverpool are very much a team in a transitional period, and it was always going to be difficult for any manager," Coyle said. "Roy has come in and he is an outstanding manager, always has been, and everywhere he has been across the world he has done a fantastic job.
"All Roy Hodgson needs is time because there is no doubt in my opinion he will turn Liverpool into the force they have been known for, a club that will challenge for honours year in year out.
"But we all know that in this league it only takes two or three results to turn that on its head and to be catapulted up there. This is not a team that is detached. We know this is a team that, within a couple of wins, can really push themselves up the table."