Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez has dismissed suggestions his goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi is going to join Liverpool in January, though he is happy with the link.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was reportedly looking for some direct competition for current number one Pepe Reina, who has had an alarming drop in form this season.
In contrast, Al-Habsi’s reputation has been growing for some time under Martinez at Wigan and links with some of the bigger Premier League clubs are no great surprise.
Liverpool’s current reserve goalkeeper Brad Jones has not been hugely impressive while deputising for the injured Reina, though he was picked ahead of the Spaniard for the recent Merseyside derby – Rodgers denied he had been dropped, citing fitness issues, even though he was on the bench.
Even if the northern Irishman wants to bring Al-Habsi to Anfield, Martinez is not about to accommodate their interest, insisting the Oman international was crucial to his plans and he will not be letting him go easily, denying there was even any interest.
However, the former Swansea boss welcomed rumours about his players being wanted by clubs such as Liverpool, saying it was signal of how well they are playing and the success they are having at the moment.
“I don't think there is any truth behind it,” he is quoted as saying by ESPN.
“Any rumour that you can see with any of our players I see as a compliment. You don't get links if you are not playing well.
“We are really focused on what we want to achieve and we are looking to improve the squad, window after window.
“We are relaxed about it. He is on a long-term contract and is an important player for us.
“The rumours are going to be there, as he is playing well, he has been impressive. He has developed as a player and is reaching good levels. But he has a long way to go”.