Liverpool striker Peter Crouch is confident of playing a key role for the Reds this season despite intense new competition for places.
|Liverpool striker Peter Crouch|
The lofty England man said he has been assured he is in the thoughts of coach Rafael Benitez, who has strengthened his front line with record signing Fernando Torres, Ryan Babel and Andriy Voronin.
"It was the same last year. When new strikers come in people automatically think where does this leave the strikers already at the club," Crouch said ahead of the Asia Trophy final here.
"But the manager's spoken to me and said I'm in his plans. We've got four strikers but hopefully I will play some part. It's going to be difficult to get in the team but when you play you have to do your best to impress."
Benitez said he hoped to see more goals this season from Liverpool, who have been criticised for being too defensive. "We will have more options up front," he said.
"Depending on the game we can play more crosses with Crouch or down the line with Voronin. If we want to change the game I can use another style of striker so I think it will be good for the team."
Crouch also praised Liverpool's new Stanley Park stadium, which has been submitted for official approval and is due to open in 2010. "For a club like Liverpool to progress they have got to get a bigger stadium to compete with the likes of Manchester United, who have developed their stadium," the former Southampton striker opined.
"Ours looks fantastic and it's an exciting time for the club. The new owners have invested in the team and the new stadium and a lot of squad members at the moment are hoping to get a chance to play there."
Liverpool will play Portsmouth in the Asia Trophy final on Friday.