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Mar 3, 2011

Dalglish talks up Carroll's chances

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish gave away none of his secrets to Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of Sunday's clash with Manchester United, but he spoke with the subtle confidence of a man who expects record signing Andy Carroll to play some part at Anfield.

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Carroll is yet to make his Reds debut due to injury, but the United game has long been his target. Multiple newspaper reports have claimed the former Newcastle man would start on the bench this weekend, and Dalglish did little to quash the speculation.

"Andy's training was always progressing but it hasn't progressed into a game yet," the Liverpool manager said on Thursday. "We've said all along that we've been delighted with his progress and there hasn't been anything he's done that hasn't been encouraging.

"Whether he's involved on Sunday or not - I'm sure Fergie would love to know but we don't know. He might not even be a substitute - he might be going to see Boyzone!"

Carroll is one of four key injury doubts for Liverpool, with defenders Daniel Agger and Fabio Aurelio and in-form midfielder Raul Meireles battling to be fit for one of the season's most eagerly awaited fixtures.

Dalglish, who has been robbed of the services of young fullback Martin Kelly due to a hamstring tear, gave a positive verdict on all four players - including Carroll.

"We're hopeful most of them will be fit. We don't really know because it's Thursday morning - a wee bit away from the game," he said. "Obviously Martin Kelly won't play with a hamstring strain and Jonjo Shelvey won't be available either. Everybody else's fitness is more positive than that. Who we have and what we go with we won't know yet - and that includes Andy Carroll."

Dalglish insists helping prevent United securing a record-breaking 19th championship is less important than restoring the fortunes of his own club.

''We want to help ourselves first. If we help ourselves and it hinders somebody else then that's not our problem, that's theirs,'' said the Scot, who turns 60 on Friday. ''As we always say, you can control an awful lot of your own destiny and not someone else's.

''If we concentrate on ourselves and prepare as well as we can, then whatever eventualities come from that, fine. If we get a result on Sunday it is more helpful to us than it is harmful to them. It never does anyone any harm to win a game. Obviously the three points would be very welcome.

''What they would bring for ourselves and the future, we just don't know.''

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