Crouch: I’ll be ready whenever I’m needed

Liverpool forward Peter Crouch has spoken about his chat with Rafa Benítez after he’d been left out of the squad for the match against Aston Villa on Saturday. Talks of showdowns and angry exchanges were nonsense, as Rafa has already explained and as Crouch points out too: “I was disappointed to miss out on Saturday, so it was good to play yesterday. The manager explained to me it will be a long season, and he proved what he meant by replacing the two who started on Saturday with myself and Andriy. I’m sure he will continue to chop and change, but everyone will play their fair share.”

As Crouch told the Liverpool Echo, he was bound to be disappointed at missing the season’s first game, but he knows all the strikers will miss games this season: “Everyone knows players want to be playing every game, so when you are geared up all pre-season to play the first game against Aston Villa, of course you don’t want to miss out. Anyone who was in my position would feel the same. People would be more disappointed in me if I didn’t feel disappointed not to play. But what I will say is that whenever I’m called upon I’ll be ready, and I hope I proved that yesterday and will continue to do so throughout the season.”

Rather than kicking up a fuss, Crouch wants to kick up a storm on the training pitch and in games he’s selected for: “I’ve got to prove to the manager on the training pitch and in the games when I get the chance that I should be in the team, but I’m not the type of person who goes off shouting, screaming and knocking down doors. I want to do my talking on the pitch.”

As for last night’s match, Crouch says the conditions made it difficult:  “It was hard work, but under the circumstances it was a fantastic result. They’re used to playing in that kind of heat, but we’re not. We got a taste of it in Hong Kong over the summer, but they were evening games, so I think we’ve coped really well. Now we can get back to Anfield to finish the job.”

Crouch says Tom Hicks and George Gillett were at the game last night, which suggests they’ll also be at the next game against new enemies Chelsea on Sunday: “We knew how important it was and the new owners were there to watch us, so the manager didn’t let us forget it was a massive game. Every game seems huge at the moment. We’ve had a good start at Villa, the Champions League was important, but the rivalry with Chelsea makes this another massive game, especially as it’s our first at Anfield. If we beat Chelsea we’ll lay down a marker we can beat anyone. We feel that’s true anyway, but want to prove that’s the case on Sunday.”

Whether Crouch will be involved on Sunday remains to be seen, but he’s not going to ask for a move should he be watching the game from the stands.