Date: 30th August 2012 at 9:05am
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News that Liverpool striker Andy Carroll will be left out of the side to face Hearts tonight has reignited speculation he could be set to leave the club…

According to reports in the Express, record Liverpool signing Andy Carroll will not take any part in the Europa League qualifying second leg with Hearts at Anfield this evening.

Perhaps more tellingly, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers has also refused to give the England international any new assurances over his future at the club.

Asked at his pre-match press conference if Carroll would remain on Merseyside past tomorrow’s 11pm BST transfer deadline, Rodgers replied: “It’s still too early to say.

“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that Andy has been a cover player for us in these opening few games.

“I’ve got to say he’s been excellent in terms of his attitude and his acceptance of where he’s at.

“But for us as a football club, and I’m talking generically here, I’m not sure we’re in a position to have £35million players as third choice strikers or wingers who might be on £5million or £6million per year.”

Funds are known to be tight at Liverpool and Carroll’s future has been a subject for debate all summer long with his robust style not best suited to Rodgers’ favoured short passing and pressing game.

Despite featuring as a late substitute against Manchester City on Sunday it has always been clear the former Newcastle United player will move on if an acceptable fee is offered.

Both West Ham United and Newcastle are known to be interested in the 23-year-old and as the clock ticks down on the transfer window other sides could conceivably come to the negotiating table.

The sale of Carroll is deemed to be the best way to raise the funds needed to allow Rodgers to strengthen and shape the Liverpool squad to better suit his needs.

Daniel Sturridge, Theo Walcott and Clint Dempsey are all thought to be on the radar if the cash can be generated through player sales.

Also available for moves away from Anfield are Charlie Adam, Jay Spearing and Joe Cole but collectively they are not likely to raise more than £8m which will not be enough to fund the purchase of either Walcott or Sturridge.

According to the BBC Adam is close to making a £5m switch to Stoke City whilst a number of other sources have previously linked the 26-year-old with Everton and Fulham.

The Reds go into the return fixture with Hearts leading 1-0 after an own-goal gifted them victory at Tynecastle last Thursday night.

Rodgers has promised to field a strong side but there will be no debut for new loan signing Nuri Sahin whilst Lucas Leiva faces several months out with a thigh injury.

Vital Verdict
Liverpool will have too much for a determined Hearts side especially with the comfort of a lead from the first leg. Although Rodgers suggests a strong side will be selected there are possible places in the line-up for the likes of Jack Robinson, Jon Flanagan and Adam Morgan. Given the injury to Lucas, Jordan Henderson will be hoping for a run in the team. We predict the Reds to win 3-1

The Europa League play-off second leg against Hearts at Anfield tonight will be shown on ESPN (kick-off at 8.05pm).

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