Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rodgers challenges Johnson to earn new deal

LIVERPOOL boss Brendan Rodgers has challenged Glen Johnson to earn a new deal at Anfield as the England defender enters the final 12 months of his contract. Johnson, 29, is one of the Reds highest earners, with a reported pay packet of £110k per week. Youngster Jon Flanagan has established himself in the side during Johnson's recent injury lay-off, with the club also said to be monitoring Bacary Sagna's situation at Arsenal, with the Frenchman out of contract in the summer. That has lead to speculation that Rodgers may let the man the club signed from Portsmouth for £17m in 2009 leave for nothing. Liverpool owner John W. Henry is unlikely to sanction another £100k plus deal, but Rodgers still believes that Johnson has a big future at Anfield. "Glen is a player we want to keep," he told the Liverpool Echo. "In terms of his contract, I am sure that is something that will be discussed between now and the end of the season. "I think Steven Gerrard went down to the last year of his contract last summer before that was sorted. "I'm sure it's something the owners will take up when the time is right. At this moment in time I am only really concentrating on the football aspect. "Hopefully then the club sees that they want to keep you and improve you. “Whether that’s Glen, the manager or whoever, we’re all fighting to stay here.” Johnson has missed Liverpool's last six games after being advised to rest ankle and groin niggles. The former Chelsea man is now back with the squad, and Rodgers is sure he will play a crucial role as the Reds look to continue their Premier League title bid. “He was very restricted in his running ability before but he feels 100% better," Rodgers said. "He looks as good as he has looked for a long time. “To have Glen Johnson feeling that way, we know we have a really good player coming back.”

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