West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke has rejected speculation linking striker Shane Long with a January move to Liverpool.
Long’s impressive performances have yielded seven goals so far this season, with the Irish forward the subject of reports claiming Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers may be weighing up a January bid.
But Clarke, who was a first-team coach at Anfield until the off-season, has dismissed the links as unsubstantiated.
“For me it’s lazy journalism,” the Scot told the Birmingham Mail.
“Liverpool need a striker and Shane is playing well so a journalist has put it together and tried to make a story out of it.
“Shane is not for sale and I’d be very surprised if Brendan Rodgers wanted to take Shane anyway.
“People are merely looking at connections and making stories out of it.”
Clarke also backed his own close-season signing Markus Rosenberg to chip in with goals for the club, despite a difficult debut for the Swedish international in West Brom’s defeat to Stoke City on Saturday.
“It was a game that was difficult for anyone to shine in,” he said.
“He didn’t get many chances. Markus will score goals, for sure, we’ve no doubt about that.”