Brendan Rodgers is adamant that Victor Moses will see out his loan spell at Liverpool despite reported criticism from Chelsea.
Liverpool’s manager said he was surprised to read in several newspapers of Chelsea’s alleged concern that Moses has not been playing enough.
The 23-year-old winger moved from Stamford Bridge to Anfield on a season’s loan in September, but has made just one Premier League start since the end of October.
Moses did start last Sunday’s 2-0 FA Cup third-round win over Oldham, but was replaced at half-time.
Reports suggested that Chelsea were so unhappy about this that they were prepared to block any attempt by Rodgers to sign left-back Ryan Bertrand in January, either on loan or permanently.
But the Liverpool manager, who worked as manager first of Chelsea’s youth team and then the reserves during Jose Mourinho’s previous spell in charge at Stamford Bridge, insists there is no rift.
Rodgers said he maintained a close working relationship with Chelsea’s assistant first-team coach Eddie Newton, whose responsibility it is to monitor the progress of the players Mourinho sends out on loan.
“I was surprised to see the reports,” Rodgers said. “That was surprising, considering I’ve got regular dialogue with Chelsea.
“I know Eddie Newton. Eddie goes out and assesses the loan players. I saw Eddie only last weekend, before the game [against Oldham]. I’ve got contact with him. We speak openly about his development.
“In fairness to Victor, he got taken off during the weekend’s game, but his reaction has been outstanding. We’ve spoken clearly about the demands and expectation at a big club, and what’s needed. And his talent hasn’t gone away.
“He’s still very much a part of the squad here. He’s very happy here. Of course, every player wants to play more, but he’s obviously learning, as he’s done at Chelsea, the demands of being at a big club.
“I’m very happy he’s here, and I’m sure he’ll have a big contribution to make over the second half of the season.”
Rodgers, meanwhile, believes that teenager Raheem Sterling can force his way in England’s World Cup squad after Theo Walcott was ruled out of the tournament.
Arsenal forward Walcott will be out for six months after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during last Saturday’s 2-0 FA Cup third-round win over Tottenham.
Sterling has forced his way back into the Liverpool first-team after a dip in form over the second half of last season coincided with a difficult period off the field.
And Rodgers said: “He’s obviously one of the outstanding talents in the Under-21 team. So with Theo Walcott injured, then it certainly opens up a door for Raheem.
“All he can do is concentrate on his Liverpool career. Everything else follows that.
“He’s played nine games on the spin and been excellent in them. So I hope he can continue with that run of form and do his job, which is to create goals, score goals and work tirelessly for the team.”
The 19-year-old was cleared of assaulting a former girlfriend last September, but the court case prompted Rodgers to tell him to sort out his life and focus on his football.
Liverpool’s manager believes Sterling has taken that advice, and could yet go to Brazil as part of Roy Hodgson’s squad.
Rodgers said: “Raheem’s been outstanding. He’s played really well in some big games. You’ve seen what he can give to the team when he’s really focused.
“He’s in a good moment right now. He’s really happy and focused on his football.
“I’m really pleased for him because he’s a good kid. He’s taken a wee bit of stick from me since I came in here, but it’s always been in his best interests.
“He’s a good boy and it’s great to see him producing consistently.”
Asked if a World Cup chance this summer might come too soon for Sterling, Rodgers said: “It depends. It didn’t come too early for Michael Owen, or for Pele in Sweden.
“It just depends on how they’re brought into the group. It depends on how they’re going to be used.
“For some, it can be good to go and get that experience.”