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Benitez: Carson can leave for Villa in January

Liverpool say England goalkeeper Scott Carson can make his loan move to Aston Villa permanent in the January transfer window.

Carson's form for Villa looks set to earn him a first England cap in Friday's friendly with Austria but, with Pepe Reina blocking his path to the Liverpool first team, Reds boss Rafa Benitez says he would not stand in the player's way if he wants to leave.

'Scott is a good professional and a nice boy. This is a crucial time in his career and he needs to play,' he said.

'At the moment we are concentrating on our own team and our own competitions, but Villa can decide if they want to keep the player.

'You can understand that he wants to play. He knows Pepe Reina is top class and that it will be difficult for him to play here,' he said.

Carson joined Liverpool from Leeds in January 2005 but has spent much of the time since out on loan, first to Sheffield Wednesday, then Charlton and now Villa.

He has made just nine appearances for Liverpool and Benitez feels it would be wrong to ask him to play second fiddle to Reina.

'At the moment we have Pepe, Charles Itandje and David Martin as goalkeepers so we can manage the situation ok,' he added.