Liverpool convince 'important' Kuyt to commit
Dirk Kuyt has committed his future to Liverpool, revealing the club's determination to keep him played a major part in his decision not to entertain interest from Inter Milan.
Kuyt's agent claimed on Wednesday the 30-year-old wanted to be reunited with former Reds boss Rafael Benitez at Inter Milan. Kuyt does not deny he was curious about what his prospects would be if he decided to leave but he was soon reassured about his status.
"My future is at Liverpool. I have had four great years at the club,'' he said. "Unfortunately we have not won any trophies but hopefully I will in future. The point for me was that I am 30 years old and I wanted to know if there was any interest from any other club in the world. Liverpool spoke to me and explained everything. They said I was really important. That made me very proud and at that point I focused my thoughts on Liverpool.''
Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson reiterated his desire for Kuyt, who scored the second in Liverpool's late 2-1 Europa League play-off victory over Trabzonspor in Turkey on Thursday night, to remain a central part of his team.
"Dirk is a player who is an important part of Liverpool, I've made it clear we don't welcome any offers for him and he's not for sale,'' Hodgson said. "As far as I'm concerned he is someone I believe in, someone I count on, and it is important we improve the team around the Steven Gerrards, Fernando Torreses, Jose Reinas and the Kuyts and not sell them and start all over again.''
Kuyt and a Remzi Kacar own goal - both coming in the last six minutes after Teofilo Gutierrez's early strike had levelled up the tie - put Liverpool through to the group stages 3-1 on aggregate. It prevented Hodgson earning the unwanted record of being the first Reds boss to be knocked out of Europe in August but also handed him another one.
The victory was his fourth in succession in Europe - a feat matched only by the legendary Bill Shankly in 1964/65, the club's first season in Europe when they beat Reykjavik and Anderlecht home and away. However, the 62-year-old was quick to play down his achievement.
"I think it would be remarkably immodest of me to claim any credit for that,'' said Hodgson, who had opened his European campaign with two wins over Rabotnicki and victory in the first leg against Trabzonspor. "I don't think Bill Shankly played too many matches in the qualifying rounds against Macedonian teams. If I want to boast about having the same number of victories consecutively as Shankly I'll have to win the next two.''