Roy Hodgson has described rumours of Javier Mascherano wanting to leave Liverpool as 'exaggerated'.
The Argentina captain, who has returned to his homeland for a break following his country's quarter-final exit at the World Cup, has been heavily linked with a move to Inter Milan.
Former Reds boss Rafa Benitez reportedly wants to link up with the 26-year-old again at the San Siro, with Hodgson admitting that he has had no contact with the player despite leaving an answering message on his phone.
With the signing of Joe Cole almost certain to keep Steven Gerrard at Anfield, Hodgson has now focused his attention on keeping Mascherano and star striker Fernando Torres - with whom he has already had talks - at the club.
The 62-year-old played down speculation that Mascherano was ignoring him however, stating that he had plenty of time to make contact and there had been no contact from the Italian club regarding his signature.
"The speculation about him leaving continues, but I must also put the record straight and say that as yet it is pure speculation because we have heard nothing from Inter and heard nothing other than he will come back and work with us," Hodgson told talkSPORT.
"To be honest, if you're a player and a new manager comes in, you don't have a lot to say to him.
"We'll have plenty to talk about when we start working together - we don't necessarily (need to) have lots of small talk over the telephone.
"I am disappointed it's been flagged up as he's let me or the club down in some way. I don't see it that way at all.
"That's been exaggerated and it's good to have a chance to put the record straight. I left a voice message - obviously I wanted to congratulate him on the World Cup that he had, to say I was really looking forward to seeing him again and wish him a good holiday.
"I remember actually saying, 'Don't feel as though you have got to ring back. As far as I'm concerned, it's just important for you to know I am trying to contact you and I am counting on you.'"