West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke has rubbished speculation regarding Shane Long's possible move to Liverpool in the January transfer window.

The Republic of Ireland forward has scored five Premier League goals this season and has been an important figure in the club's impressive start to the season where they lie 5th after 15 matches.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has continually stated his intention to invest in the January transfer window but Clarke doesn't expect the Northern Irishman to look to Long to solve his goal scoring problems.

Shane Long
Long has scored five Premier League goals this season.

"It's just lazy journalism," Clarke said. "Liverpool need a striker, Shane is playing well so a lazy journalist puts it together and makes 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."

Reports over the weekend linked Long with a January move to Liverpool as part of a major overhaul at Anfield in the New Year.

The 25 year old joined The Baggies in 2011 from Reading following a six-year spell at the Madejski Stadium during which he scored 54 goals in 201 games, including 23 in his final season with The Royals.

With Long having been far from prolific during his spell in the Premier League, a tenure in the top flight which is very much in its infancy, the link with Liverpool comes as a major surprise.

Since injury to Fabio Borini, signed in the summer from Roma, ruled out the Italian until the New Year, Rodgers has stated he wishes to bring in additional attacking resources during the summer.

The club have somewhat struggled for goals in the Premier League this season, having netted 19 in 15 games, with Luis Suarez having contributed ten of those.

His absence for the trip to West Ham United this weekend leaves Rodgers with a selection dilemma, with the boss likely to delve into the club's youth team to fill his wafer-thin squad.

Long will have the opportunity to show The Reds what they're missing when the two sides meet at Anfield in February 2013.