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By ESPN Staff

Maxi welcomes competition at Liverpool

Maxi Rodriguez insists he is pleased by the signings Liverpool have made this summer - even though the task of securing a first-team place has grown tougher as a consequence.

• Enrique backing Carroll to succeed
• Dalglish: Reds are stronger

Over the last few months Reds boss Kenny Dalglish has recruited Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique, all of whom made their debuts for the club in Saturday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Sunderland at Anfield.

Rodriguez - scorer of seven goals, including two hat-tricks, for Liverpool towards the end of last season - was not included in the squad and looks set to face a battle to be selected.

But the Argentina international told the Liverpool Echo: ''Healthy competition is always good. Competition for places is always a positive thing for the club and I think it's great that the signings who have arrived are of such high quality with a great level of skills and technique.

''It means the manager has to decide what he thinks is his best 11 but that is something he will decide and we will all be hoping we are in it.

''It's always nice to welcome new faces to the club and you always go out of your way to make them feel as comfortable as possible. They are settling in well.''

Liverpool are attempting to break back into the top four this season and Rodriguez believes it is vital they make a strong start to the campaign.

''I don't think you can stress enough the importance of the first few weeks of the season,'' Rodriguez said. ''If you can see yourself near the top of the table it's great and the confidence that gives helps you grow as a team and as a squad.

''It also means that the teams you are facing will maybe come to Anfield with a different attitude, perhaps showing more respect when they're coming to play against you.

''I think at the start of any season your ultimate goal is to win the league and to come out as champions.

''If you can aim to achieve that then by the very fact that you are fighting for the title it will almost guarantee that you will be involved in the Champions League the following season.

''A team like Liverpool has to be battling on that level and have those kind of aspirations for the season.''

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