Confident Carroll says 'we can cope without injured Gerrard'


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The Independent Football

Andy Carroll believes Liverpool have shown they are better placed than they were to cope without the services of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.

The experienced pair were absent for Saturday's 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion and although Carragher's calf problem is unlikely to keep him out for long, the extent of the problem with Gerrard's infected ankle has yet to be determined.

Liverpool's captain, pictured leaving hospital on Sunday with his leg in a cast, is likely to find out in the next 24 hours what action needs to be taken to return him to full fitness. But Carroll, a £35 million January signing, has had to play virtually all of his short Anfield career without Gerrard, who was sidelined for six months in March after a groin operation.

In fact, with Carroll's injury problems delaying his debut last season, the pair have been on the pitch together in only four matches. And Gerrard, Carroll and Luis Suarez, the new focal point of Liverpool's attacking options, have never started a match together.

However, the former Newcastle United striker is confident the squad now assembled by manager Kenny Dalglish is well equipped to cope with such challenges. "It was tough not having Stevie or Carra in the squad," said the 22-year-old England international. "They are great players and we need them in the team once they've got over their little niggles. But we have fantastic players that can come in."

The strike partnership with Suarez still requires work but there are signs it is developing. Carroll scored his second goal in three league matches at The Hawthorns, courtesy of the Uruguay international's pass. "Luis is a great player who works so hard for the team and it's nice to have him up top with me," he told the Liverpool Echo. "I could not name a better player in the Premier League than Luis."

Fitness has affected the early progress at Anfield of Carroll, Liverpool's record signing, and he has yet to secure a regular place in the starting line-up this season. "I've been disappointed to be sat on the bench," he added. "But when you are left out it just makes you work harder the next day in training to get your place back."