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 By Mike Whalley

Rodgers coy over Konoplyanka bid

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is remaining coy over a possible summer bid for Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka.

Yevhen Konoplyanka celebrates after converting his penalty.
Yevhen Konoplyanka came close to joining Liverpool in January. 

Kelly: Sympathy for the Swans

Rodgers saw a 15 million-pound move for Konoplyanka, 24, fall through at the end of January, despite managing director Ian Ayre’s best efforts to finalise the deal.

Ayre spent three days in talks trying to secure the services of the Ukraine international from Dnipro, whose billionaire owner Ihor Kolomoyskyi ultimately refused to sanction the transfer.

Konoplyanka had been keen on a move to Anfield, agreeing personal terms and undergoing a medical in his homeland in a bid to speed the deal through.

Rodgers said on Feb. 2, two days after the collapse of the move, that he would look at resurrecting it in the summer, while sources have told ESPN FC that Konoplyanka remains a potential target for Liverpool.

The winger’s 81st-minute penalty secured Dnipro a 1-0 victory over Tottenham in their Europa League last-32 first-leg meeting on Thursday night.

Rodgers said he did not see the game, instead focusing on Sunday’s Premier League opponents Swansea, who drew 0-0 with Napoli in their Europa League clash.

And asked about the possibility of returning for Konoplyanka, Rodgers would only say: “We’ve got lots of people we’re looking at. We’ll assess where we are at the end of the season.”

The Reds boss, though, will look to strengthen this summer, and sees Champions League qualification as crucial to that.

His side sit fourth in the Premier League with 12 games left to play, and are on course to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition for the first time since 2009.

Rodgers, who has been in charge since June 2012, said: “I think it’s vitally important. For us to go to that next level, that’s where we need to be.

“I took over the team after they finished eighth. That [the Champions League] is what we’ve been building towards over these last 18 months.

“If we can get into that elite competition, it attracts a different type of player as well, so I think it’s very important, and I hope it will be this year.” 

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