Liverpool latest: The secret to Gerrard's penalties and why has Rodgers pulled out of half marathon?

A round up of the latest news stories and transfer rumours about Liverpool from the past 24 hours.

Liverpool central defender Martin Skrtel has urged his teammates to enjoy the win at Manchester United but has stressed focus ahead of this weekend’s game against Cardiff City.

“It was a wonderful match - one that I will always remember. We were really good and nearly perfect - I am also happy that we kept our clean sheet. Now we must show our improvement against Cardiff,” Skrtel told the Liverpool Echo.

Reported long term Liverpool target Marc Bartra has signed a new contract with Spanish champions Barcelona. The 23-year-old has been routinely linked with a move to Anfield as Brendan Rodgers looks to sure up his defence but Bartra’s new deal will run until 2017.

The Daily Mirror has suggested Liverpool could splash out as much as £25 million on signing Rodrigo from Portuguese club Benfica. The Brazilian forward scored in last week’s first leg of the Europa League game against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Liverpool have also been linked with moves for two Barcelona stars. Brendan Rodgers is thought to be keen on adding goalkeeper Victor Valdes and full-back Adriano to his squad in the summer.

TalkSport has suggested Liverpool are eyeing a move for PSV Eindhoven star Zakaria Bakkali. The 18-year-old is thought to be one of Brendan Rodgers’ priority signings for the summer as he looks to bring in a blend of youth and experience.

Another story from TalkSport suggests Hamburg have slapped an £18 million price tag on the head of attacking midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu. The star has only just signed a new deal with the club, which doesn’t include a relegation clause but TalkSport reports Hamburg will sell if the German side don’t stay in the Bundesliga.

In other news, Jan Molby has offered his thoughts on Steven Gerrard’s penalty technique. The Liverpool skipper scored from the spot twice last weekend in the 3-0 win against Manchester United, hitting the post with a third effort.

“I think if you're a penalty taker, you enjoy the challenge [of taking one at Old Trafford] - He's a great striker of the ball and he's maybe not one of those who might wait for the goalkeeper to make his move. Some wait and go the other way, but he uses his skill of being a great kicker of the ball,” Molby told the Liverpool Echo.

In other news, senior members of Liverpool’s staff are preparing to run the city’s half marathon this Sunday. Colin Pascoe and Mike Marsh are among those taking part for the Liverpool FC Foundation with Brendan Rodgers having to pull out owing to a scan on his knee.

“Although I am disappointed not to be running in the race, I am delighted to be starting it with Colin and Mike and watching the thousands of runners line-up in anticipation,” Rodgers told the club’s website.

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