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Sep 9, 2010

Hodgson still aims to cut deadwood from Reds squad

Roy Hodgson is still looking to further trim his Liverpool squad despite presiding over a considerable revamp of the playing staff since his arrival at Anfield.

• Hicks and Gillett under more pressure

Presented with the task of resurrecting the fortunes of a club that finished in seventh under Rafa Benitez last season, Hodgson has seen Javier Mascherano, Alberto Aquilani, Albert Riera, Emiliano Insua, Philipp Degen, Diego Cavalieri, Nabil El Zhar, Damien Plessis and a number of youngsters leave Anfield this summer.

In their place have come Joe Cole, Danny Wilson, Milan Jovanovic, Christian Poulsen, Brad Jones, Raul Meireles and Paul Konchesky. But Hodgson has identified further areas in which he hopes to make adjustments and wants to cut out the deadwood at Anfield.

"We were unbelievably over-staffed when I came to the club and, if the truth be known, we still are over-staffed," Hodgson said.

"It was just as big a job making sure some of the players who never feature for the first team move on and that we limit our squad to players who are either in the frame to play first-team football or who have a bright future who are still anxious to play academy and reserve team football.

"We don't want that middle group who are too old for reserve football but are not serving any purpose for the first team because they never feature."

One of Hodgson's notable moves in the transfer market was to bring left-back Fabio Aurelio back to the club after his departure on a free transfer over the summer. The Reds have also signed Konchesky from Fulham as their first choice in the position, and Hodgson admits his former player at Fulham forced his departure from Craven Cottage.

"It was difficult because Fulham were anxious to keep him and were against letting him go," he said. "Our good fortune was he was in the last year of his contract and he made it clear that if they didn't let him go he wouldn't sign a new contract.

"That was useful for us because otherwise it would have been very difficult to get him. There aren't many quality left-backs around in the world, never mind in England, so to find an English one who can go straight into the team without any adjustment problems is a big advantage."

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