01 December 2007

Liverpool boss Benitez: We don't want to sell Crouch

Last updated at 16:58pm on 30th November 2007

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has no plans to sell Peter Crouch.

The England striker, who has 18 months left on his contract, has made just eight starts this season under Benitez' squad rotation policy.
No new contract talks have been held, and there has been speculation that Crouch could move to another Premier League club in the January transfer period.
"In a top side you need good players," Benitez said Friday. "They can't play every game. It is really difficult and always impossible, but Crouch is a key player for us so we don't want to sell Peter."
Benitez wants the 2.00-meter (6-foot-7) forward hitting the net more often. He came off the bench to score in Wednesday's 4-1 Champions League win over FC Porto.
"The key is to see him scoring goals, playing well and being happy - and then we will have this conversation," Benitez said. "How can you win a new contract? Working really hard, playing really well, scoring a lot of goals - so he has a chance."
Benitez is aware rival Premier League clubs are ready to move for Crouch.
"The problem is he is a good player," the Spaniard said. "So the good clubs normally are asking if he's not playing every game, maybe they will try to be close to the player."
Crouch's former England coach, Sven-Goran Eriksson, could try to lure him to Manchester City.
"Sven does like Peter Crouch, very much," City chairman Thaksin Shinawatra said Friday. "But he has yet to decide whether to make an offer."
Liverpool, fifth in the Premier League, hosts Bolton on Sunday.

Unfortunately, the signs suggest Crouch may be denied that opportunity at Liverpool.
Rafa Benitez has handed him just two Premier League starts this season, although he has fared better in Europe, where he has scored four goals in four Champions League starts.
Crouch will not be short of suitors from the Premier League and abroad if he is deemed surplus to requirements at Liverpool — Manchester City manager and former England head coach Sven Goran Eriksson, a committed fan, is weighing up a January approach.
But Crouch said: "I don't want to leave Liverpool. I want to play in big competitions — in a Champions League Final. But you want to play.
"Recently it has been a lot better, but at the start of the season I wasn't getting enough games."
Surely Benitez's rotation policy and the uncertainty it brings must have Crouch seriously considering a move?
"Not at all," he said. "It helps us that he likes to chop and change between games.
"He never lets on what's he's thinking."
Indeed, Benitez does not reveal who is playing until around an hourand- a-half before kick-off.
Whether he is picked or not, Crouch says he will never lose his self-confidence.
"I always had faith in my own ability, I always believed I could play at the highest level.
"There are times when you're going to get knocked but you have to get up from those.
"I feel I'm a lot better player now than when I first entered the England side; I feel I've developed a lot.
"I'm at a club now where I feel settled and where I feel I can win things — I think I'm in my prime. I just love playing for Liverpool."
Still only 26, Crouch should still have his best years ahead of him and should have plenty of time for another crack at the 'defining moment' that will finally see him remembered more for his goalscoring prowess than for his towering frame or an eye-catching robot dance.

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