LIVERPOOL manager Roy Hodgson insists he wants to build his team around people like Dirk Kuyt and has no intention of selling him.
The Dutchman’s agent claimed yesterday he wanted to join former Reds boss Rafael Benitez at Inter Milan.
However, the 30-year-old showed no sign of that as he worked hard in the 2-1 Europa League play-off second leg victory over Trabzonspor, scoring the second goal.
“Dirk Kuyt is not for sale so excuse me for not understanding the speculation of being happy now he has said he is staying because I never doubted he was staying,” said Hodgson.
“Dirk 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.
“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 Torres’s, Jose Reinas and the Kuyts and not sell them and start all over again.”
Hodgson said there had been no movement on Javier Mascherano’s situation, who is a target for Barcelona, and dismissed suggestions Inter Milan had entered the bidding with a faxed offer to the club.
“I saw a fax the other day but I think it was sent tongue-in-cheek to be honest,” he revealed.
“The offer was so unbelievably far from a valuation it seemed to me the sporting director was putting the fax in to maybe satisfy people at the club.
“We didn’t even bother to answer it, that is how ridiculously far from a serious offer it was.”
Hodgson admitted his side were “looking down the barrel” against Trabzonspor before a late comeback secured their passage.
Trailing to Teofilo Gutierrez’s fourth-minute strike, the Reds secured a 3-1 aggregate scoreline and passage into the group stages thanks to a late Remzi Kacar own goal and a tap-in from Kuyt.
It was Liverpool’s first victory over Turkish opposition in Turkey, having famously become European champions for the fifth time in Istanbul in 2005.
“We were looking down the barrel here coming to Trabzon,” said the 62-year-old.
“They were fresh off a win over Fenerbahce here, they are last season’s champions, they don’t lose at home and we beat them at home.
“To get a result here was something quite important and will stand us in good stead for plenty of other matches.
“We had the toughest possible start but I thought we got over it and throughout the game played well.
“Quite frankly we should have had the game sewn up long before we did.
“But I was relieved.”
Trabzonspor coach Senol Gunes was disappointed his side could not pull off a shock.
“I am really upset but I think we had a positive game and our players tried their best.”