Crouch concern reveals Reds' squad depth
Peter Crouch scored for Liverpool and talked of the 'difficulties' Rafael Benitez has in keeping all his players happy - while Steve Finnan insisted this is the best Anfield squad he had been involved with.
The contrasting comments from within the Liverpool squad were evident last night as Liverpool showed their strength in depth as they cruised into the Champions League group stages and now await tomorrow's draw in Monaco.
Liverpool outplayed Toulouse, winning 4-0 on the night and 5-0 on aggregate, and boss Benitez insisted his strong squad with plenty of competition and options was the reason.
Full-back Finnan, who had just a few minutes on the pitch at the end, underlined the strength Liverpool have at their disposal.
He said: 'This is by far the best squad I have been involved in here, the boss has two players for every position and it is keeping everyone on their toes.'
Crouch, who set Liverpool on the way to the last 16 with the opening goal, has a couple of times already this season explained his concerns to Benitez, having been left out of the previous two squads altogether.
It is going to be a recurring theme this term, with Benitez famously saying: 'If you want to play every week then you must join a small team.'
Crouch is not likely to do that, but he cannot hide his worries. He said: 'It's going to get difficult but as long as I get as many games as I'd like it's okay.
'It's important for us to progress to the next round but on a personal level it's nice to get a first goal of the season.'
With Fernando Torres and Andriy Voronin both already on target this season, Dirk Kuyt - who scored twice with Sami Hyypia netting the other goal - and Crouch both face stiff competition for starting berths.
Asked if there was pressure on the pair Crouch said: 'I don't know, you could say we're fresher because of the rest. We both worked well and the idea is to keep us all fresh.
'We're looking good and it was important that we started the season well. If we continue to progress the way we have, and all the new players have settled in well, we have got a great chance of success.'
Benitez only sees the positives of his policies, saying: 'I was very pleased with the performance, we played well and you can see the competition now for places with players working to impress right to the end.
'I know Crouch has been out of the last two games and he has now scored eight in his last 10 games in Europe. But if the team keeps winning and everyone else scores goals as well, I will be happy.
'I was able to bring in (Lucas) Benayoun, (Sebastian) Leto and Lucas (Leiva) for this game and they all did well. You can see the quality in every position, I have two players to chose from now for every place and the players know that.
'I now do not need to talk a lot about one or two star players all the time, I have players everywhere who want to play and have the ability to play.'