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Chelsea remain the team to beat


Rodgers: Carroll faces tough challenge

Andy Carroll has been warned that he faces a difficult task to regain a regular first-team spot if he stays at Liverpool.

Anfield manager Brendan Rodgers has srongly hinted that the England striker, who joined the Reds from Newcastle in a £35 million deal in January 2011, will struggle to fit into his gameplan this season.

Newcastle and West Ham have made attempts to sign Carroll during the summer, but he has so far decided to stay put.

He made an impact with his aerial power for England at Euro 2012, scoring with a header in a 3-2 victory over Sweden, and has established himself in Roy Hodgson's squad, playing 45 minutes of Wednesday's 2-1 friendly win over Italy in Berne.

Rodgers, though, wants to play the kind of passing game that earned him so much praise in his previous job at Swansea, and is unsure about how Carroll will fit into that.

"He knows where he stands," the manager told the Liverpool Echo. "He is an important part of our group, and that is how I see it at the moment.

"If you are a team that puts crosses in from all angles, he is a great player in the box. But if you play a different style, it is that much more difficult.

"Most managers have a way of playing and a Plan A in terms of the way they want to play. I will always try to make Plan A better before I go to Plan B. We will see what develops."


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