'Earn your place' Rodgers tells Carroll as Milan linked with loan deal for striker
Brendan Rodgers has challenged Andy Carroll to prove he can fit into a new Liverpool system, or risk being sent out on loan next season with AC Milan reported to be interested.
The prospect of a Milan loan move for Carroll has been floated in Italy, where the club's president Pier Silvio Berlusconi -- son of the former Italian prime minister -- has said he was impressed at Euro 2012 with a player whose £35m Liverpool price tag may make his sell-on fee prohibitive.
Rodgers did not reject such an audacious notion when it was put to him that such a deal may not offer benefits for Liverpool, though he did say that he wanted to assess what Carroll could bring to the club.
"It's something I would have to look at, I have to be honest," the manager said. "I'm not going to sit here and say I will never let anyone go on loan, then come in here in two weeks and a player's gone, and you're saying, 'You said you wouldn't let them go.' There are many things to going on loan. Is it going to be beneficial for the club? That's the most important thing.
"Sometimes a player going out on loan -- in general, not just Andy -- can benefit the club in the long-term. It gets them game experience, and they come back a better player, a more confident one. Certainly more so than if they've been sitting on the bench for the majority of the season. That can benefit both parties. It would have to be beneficial for the club and I will judge on that."
Rodgers wants Roma striker Fabio Borini, which would intensify competition for places at Anfield.
The Liverpool manager, who has built his reputation on short-passing, fast-moving football, will use pre-season to assess whether Carroll, an old-fashioned, 'battering ram' centre-forward, fits in to his plans.
Rodgers said: "Time will tell for him and all the players whether they are in my plans, but my job is to assess that. Like every player, there are certain styles and systems which will allow them to flourish.
"He's no different to any player we have here, they might have all the attributes but not the mentality to play. He's a good kid, a good lad, so we will just see how the formation of the group shapes up.
"Andy's always going to be linked with clubs, here or not. I have spoken to him on his holidays, he knows exactly where he stands, but I have had no inquiries about him."
In addition to his bid for Borini, Rodgers promised another "exciting" signing was imminent.
"We have only made three or four inquiries about players and hopefully can close out one deal this week which will be a really exciting one for the club, one the supporters will absolutely love." (© Daily Telegraph, London)