Crouch realistic over future

Striker not happy at life on the bench

Peter Crouch admits he has to be realistic about whether he has a future at Liverpool.

The England striker has started just seven league games this season and with Fernando Torres in sparkling form, his chances of first-team football in the near future look slim.

Crouch was given a rare start at Arsenal on Saturday as boss Rafa Benitez rested Torres with this week's UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg meeting with The Gunners in mind.

Crouch responded by opening the scoring in the 1-1 draw but the 27-year-old conceded afterwards that his future could very well lie away from Anfield.

"I would love to stay, it is a fantastic club and I love everything about it, but I have got to be realistic," said Crouch, who says he needs to think about his international career.

"If I want to have any aspirations of playing for England, or furthering my career, then I have to be playing - and that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.

"I will have to look at it - but that's certainly something I won't be doing now, I will be doing it at the end of the season.

"At the moment I am concentrating on winning something for Liverpool and playing some part in the end of the season.

"We have got a Champions League run-in now and it's exciting for us, and all my efforts are focused on that."

No start

Liverpool's system now sees just one striker, which is one reason Crouch is seeing less action and the former Southampton man knows he will be back on the bench despite his goal on Saturday.

"It's pretty clear I probably won't start," he said.

"Obviously if the manager plays one up front, he is more than likely to go with Fernando - and rightly so, he's been fantastic this season.

"Before when he was rotating at least I was getting a game here and there. But the manager's obviously stuck with a formation now that seems to be working, and credit to the players that have been playing in that system.

"We have certainly been playing well and I think we have got a great chance of going through to the semi-finals now in Europe.

"But for me, I will just have to obviously keep working hard and try and change his mind.

"It can be disheartening, but you have to keep going.

"I am one of those players that will keep going, I keep working hard in training, and, if called upon then hopefully I'll do what I did at Arsenal.

"At a big club there is always that pressure. Even if you start every game, if you don't perform, you know you are going to be out.

"But maybe me more so, with the fact that I haven't played that much this season, so, when I do, I have to make sure that I do well and do the business to try and stay in."