Liverpool will miss out on England U21 winger Tom Ince – unless they increase their offer for the player.
That’s according to Blackpool manager Michael Appleton, who insists the club do not need to sell the 20-year-old and won’t if an improved bid is made during the January transfer window.
Appleton confirmed that the Reds have already lodged a bid for the player at the end of December, but insists they will ‘have to do better’ if they want to land one of the hottest properties in the Npower Championship.
"I don't think so. The chairman has not made that assumption on it at all,” responded Appleton when asked if he must sell Ince to generate transfer funds, according to talkSPORT.
"Liverpool made an offer two weeks ago to [chairman] Karl Oyston. We haven't received anything since. It was pretty much a case of 'that's not enough, you'll have to do better'.
"From my point of view I'd love to keep Tom but the biggest thing is whether I'm able to add to what we've got. We need reinforcements big time and I will only be happy if we bring four or five new faces in by the end of January. If we don't, I'll be disappointed."
The Tangerines chief was speaking after his side’s 1-1 draw against Fulham in the FA Cup third round – a match which saw Ince fail to find the back of the net for a seventh consecutive match.
And, whilst Appleton believes the former Notts County loanee is playing well, he admits that the speculation over a move to Anfield is having an affect on his player.
"He's going through a little bit of an indifferent spell at the moment. With all the speculation it is hard to get away from that. But he is coping really well,” added the manager, according to talkSPORT.
"I know how difficult it can be sometimes when you've got the media constantly talking about the opportunity you might get elsewhere.”
Ince began his professional career at Liverpool, joining the first team on Merseyside in 2010 after two-years as a youth team player.
However, first team opportunities were limited, and after a loan spell at Meadow Lane with the Magpies, he signed on permanently at Bloomfield Road.
His form has led to international recognition in the shape of Stuart Pearce’s Young Lions, and now Brendan Rodgers wants to bring the player back to the Premier League. The Liverpool boss must make an improved offer to make it happen though, and it remains to be seen if that will happen before the end of the transfer window.