x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Carragher: Key duo will stay

Jamie Carragher, the Liverpool defender, is confident star players Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres will still be at the club next season.

Jamie Carragher, the Liverpool defender, is confident star players Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres will still be at the club next season. The two have both been the subject of speculation this summer following the club's failure to qualify for the Champions League and the departure of Rafa Benitez, the manager. Some observers believe retaining their services is one of the first tasks facing new manager Roy Hodgson - who is reported to have only £15 million (Dh82.5m) to spend on new players.

But Carragher, 32, who is approaching his 15th season with Liverpool, expects the two players to stay. He told talkSPORT: "I think there is a lot of talk about this but the people who say these things, a lot of them are doing this to create a bit of pressure around the club. "I don't think anyone knows these people personally to come out and say that. "I am sure they will still be involved at the club next season and, if they are, the aim for the club will be to get back into the Champions League."

Hodgson stated at his introduction yesterday that his goal for next season is to get Liverpool back into the elite European competition. Carragher added: "We didn't just miss out, we finished seventh. That is a big disappointment. "If we could get back in there that would be a great achievement for the club and the manager. "It is going to be a tough season but if we keep the players we have got and get back to where we were a few years ago I am sure we will give everyone a run for their money."

Sunderland have completed the signing of Ahmed Al-Muhammadi, the Egypt international, 22, on a season-long loan from the ENPPI club. * PA