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Carroll closing in on Reds debut

Andy Carroll could be in line to make his first appearance for Liverpool against West Ham United this weekend, after making a rapid recovery from injury.

There had initially been fears that Carroll - signed from Newcastle United for £35 million on transfer deadline day in January - would miss a large part of the remainder of the season with a thigh problem he was already carrying when the transfer was completed. But after taking part in some training drills at his new club on Monday, there is now a chance the striker could be involved in the matchday squad for the trip to Upton Park.

Carroll has not participated in any contact drills with the rest of the players as yet, but was included for the recent trip to the Czech Republic for the Europa League clash with Sparta Prague to hasten his assimilation into the squad and improve his bond with team-mates.

Although the game against West Ham is a possibility, the following weekend's visit of Manchester United seems a more probable opportunity for the 22-year-old to make his bow - and in front of a supportive Anfield crowd.

Manager Kenny Dalglish has repeatedly said he is confident the expensive signing will be a huge hit on Merseyside, and is looking to get him on the pitch as soon as possible.

"The fans will really relate to him once he gets fit and starts to play for us," Dalglish said prior to the weekend. "Going to Prague was just so he could continue his rehabilitation. We just wanted to get Andy in amongst the boys so he will recognise a couple of faces."

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