Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has launched scathing attack on the credibility of reports linking Andy Carroll with a return to Newcastle.
On Wednesday it was widely reported that Liverpool would be willing to jettison the eighth most costly player in football history following the towering centre-forward's underwhelming 12-months at Anfield.
Speculation suggested Newcastle were ready to end Carroll's perceived nightmare at Liverpool in a deal worth a rumoured £25 million. The player's agent swiftly denied the claim and his manager was equally dismissive of the reports.
Dalglish claimed the conjecture surrounding Liverpool's £35 million signing was a fabrication from journalists and the Scot suggested he had no intention of justifying the invention, by rounding on the media who allegedly invent these stories.
"I am worried about the people that invent them," The Liverpool manager told reporters on Thursday when asked about the credibility of reports linking Carroll with a return to his former club.
"You have absolutely no foundation whatsoever (for the stories)."
"I don't need to justify what is in the paper. I have stood up - and always will stand up - for the players."
The Liverpool manager concluded: "You justify your profession and you justify the story."
Carroll joined Liverpool in the latter embers of the 2011 January transfer window, when the Merseyside club paid a British record fee for the relatively inexperienced striker.
The 23-year-old has subsequently struggled to recapture the form that propelled him to hero status in Newcastle, but Liverpool are seemingly more than willing to persist with Carroll despite an apparent malaise.