Coach denies Balotelli link

LONDON - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has rejected speculation linking him with a bid for AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli.

Rodgers spoke about the Italy international in glowing terms when he was asked about him last week, but the Northern Irishman said that his admiration would not translate into an offer for the 23-year-old.

"I can categorically tell you Mario Balotelli will not be at Liverpool," Rodgers told a press conference in Miami.

"In my last press conference I was asked a question about Mario Balotelli and I talked about what a talent he was and what an excellent player he was.

"And the next day it was wrote (sic) as if we were signing him. I just gave my perception of him as a player."

Liverpool lost star striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona last month, but Rodgers had previously brought in England international Rickie Lambert from Southampton. Belgium striker Divock Origi has also joined the club from Lille, but he was immediately loaned back to the French side.

l Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu has joined German club Stuttgart on a season-long loan, following a similar deal last season with Valencia.

The 22-year-old, who moved to Chelsea from Barcelona in 2011, signed a three-year contract recently with the Premier League club but is apparently not part of manager Jose Mourinho's plans.

His move to the Bundesliga takes the number of players out on loan from Chelsea to 13. Romeu has made 33 appearances for Chelsea.