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De Gea plus £65m for Gareth Bale?

Transfer Talk
San Jose EarthquakesSan Jose Earthquakes
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By ESPN Staff

Crouch may quit Liverpool in search of games

England striker Peter Crouch accepts he will probably have to consider quitting Liverpool in the summer to get regular first-team football.

The 6ft 7ins forward scored an impressive opening goal in the 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw with Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

However, Crouch feels he is likely to be back on the Anfield bench for tomorrow night's second leg of their Champions League quarter-final with the Gunners, when leading scorer Fernando Torres is expected to lead the attack again.

Liverpool have offered the 27-year-old, who arrived from Southampton in a £7million deal during 2005, a new contract.

Yet Crouch, who has 25 England caps, intimated his future could well lay elsewhere if he cannot hold down a first-team place.

'I would love to stay, it is a fantastic club and I love everything about it, but I have got to be realistic,' said Crouch, who has just seven Premier League starts this season.

'If I want to have any aspirations of playing for England, or furthering my career, then I have to be playing - and that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.

'I will have to look at it - but that's certainly something I won't be doing now, I will be doing it at the end of the season.'

Crouch, though, insists his current focus in on helping Liverpool progress in Europe.

'At the moment I am concentrating on winning something for Liverpool and playing some part in the end of the season,' he said.

'We have got a Champions League run-in now and it's exciting for us, and all my efforts are focused on that.'

Reds boss Rafael Benitez made eight changes for the Premier League match on Saturday, and looks set to tinker with his side again tomorrow.

Crouch, though, is expecting to be back on the bench.

'It's pretty clear I probably won't start,' he said.

'Obviously if the manager plays one up front, he is more than likely to go with Fernando - and rightly so, he's been fantastic this season.

'Before when he was rotating at least I was getting a game here and there. But the manager's obviously stuck with a formation now that seems to be working, and credit to the players that have been playing in that system.

'We have certainly been playing well and I think we have got a great chance of going through to the semi-finals now in Europe.

'But for me, I will just have to obviously keep working hard and try and change his mind.'

Crouch revealed: 'It can be disheartening, but you have to keep going.

'I am one of those players that will keep going, I keep working hard in training, and, if called upon then hopefully I'll do what I did at Arsenal.

'At a big club there is always that pressure. Even if you start every game, if you don't perform, you know you are going to be out.

'But maybe me more so, with the fact that I haven't played that much this season, so, when I do, I have to make sure that I do well and do the business to try and stay in.'

After holding the Gunners to a 1-1 draw twice in the space of four days, Crouch believes Liverpool will have a psychological edge tomorrow.

'We have got to take confidence from the fact that we've played two away games now against Arsenal and certainly not been outplayed at any time,' said the striker.

'We have given them a good account of ourselves, could have won either game, it could have gone either way.

'Now, when we are at Anfield and with the crowd behind us, we feel we can beat anyone.'