Hodgson demands improvement

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Javier Mascherano's departure to Barcelona leaves Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson little time to strengthen his squad before the transfer window closes and so he is looking for more improvement from within.

The Argentina captain's move to the Catalan club on a four-year contract is likely to be confirmed later on Saturday after he undergoes a medical but even with the £20million banked from the transfer Hodgson may find it difficult to bring in enough new signings before the end of deadline day.

"There is only one way to get experience, one way to learn, and that is to be thrown in at the deep end and you either survive or the experience breaks you," said the Reds boss.

Fulham left-back Paul Konchesky is likely to arrive at Anfield now the Cottagers have sealed the transfer of PSV Eindhoven's Carlos Salcido, however, that still leaves a quality back-up for striker Fernando Torres to be found in four days.

Hodgson is hopeful of being successful but knows he also has to get more out of the players he has.

He was encouraged by the second-half performance of a side shorn of the likes of Torres, Gerrard, Daniel Agger, Milan Jovanovic, Mascherano and Maxi Rodriguez in the Europa League play-off second leg victory over Trabzonspor.

And with the Barclays Premier League the top priority the 62-year-old feels Europe could be the ideal place for some of the squad's fringe players to prove their worth.

He added: "Hopefully you get more than one chance but every time you step into a different situation and you step up to the plate and answer the questions you feel that much better, that much stronger and it helps you about the future.

"These games in the Europa League will be very useful for us in that respect. We have a chance to give people a regular game, which they might not get if we get a stable XI together who play most of the matches.

"I am hoping we will have a strong squad this year because we are going to need it to play the Europa League and Premier League. And there were players there who did not play against Arsenal or Manchester City who then came out and did a good job in Trabzon."

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Europa League
Maxi Rodriguez
Paul Konchesky
Manchester City
Premier League
Fernando Torres
Daniel Agger

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