Hodgson banks on Gerrard

LIVERPOOL, England - New Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson said yesterday that he was confident Steven Gerrard would remain at the club after holding talks with the England midfielder.

LIVERPOOL, England - New Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson said yesterday that he was confident Steven Gerrard would remain at the club after holding talks with the England midfielder.

Hodgson met club captain Gerrard and long-serving defender Jamie Carragher after being appointed as Rafael Benitez's successor last week.

"Steven and Jamie are the playing heartbeat of the club and it's very important we keep people like that with us," Hodgson told Liverpool's website.

Gerrard has been linked with a move away from Anfield after a disappointing season in which the club finished seventh, missing out on qualification for the Champions League.

However, Hodgson believes he can convince the 30-year-old to stay.

"I anticipate there might be a situation where other big clubs will try and sign Steven, but he gave no indication that he wanted to leave," Hodgson said.

"Nobody at the club wants him to go so I will be doing my utmost to make sure he stays. I am confident he will."

Hodgson has yet to meet striker Fernando Torres, who is still on duty with World Cup finalists Spain.

Torres is also a target of several European clubs and has indicated he will wait until speaking to the Liverpool hierarchy before committing to the club.

"Fernando is a wonderful striker and I understand the fans' concerns about his future," Hodgson said.

"Unfortunately with the World Cup still on, I won't be able to meet him face to face for another few weeks.

"When I do meet him, I will be doing everything I possibly can to convince him that Liverpool is the place to be. If he sees progress, I am confident that he won't want to go anywhere else." - Sapa-AP

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