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Reds can cope with loss of star duo - Carroll

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

The experienced pair were absent for Saturday's 2-0 win at West Brom 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 was due to find out today what course of action needed to be taken to return him to full fitness.

But Carroll, a £35million January signing, has had to play virtually all his short Reds career without Gerrard - who was sidelined for six months in March.

In fact, with Carroll's injury problems delaying his debut last season, the pair have been on the pitch together in just 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 striker is confident the squad now assembled by manager Kenny Dalglish is well-equipped to cope with such issues.

"It was tough not having Stevie or Carra in the squad," said the 22-year-old England international.

"But we have fantastic players that can come in. We've got lads who can step in when needed and do a job."

The strike partnership with Suarez still requires work to be consistently effective but it is in its infancy, relatively speaking, and there are signs it is developing.

Carroll has certainly been encouraged after scoring 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 said.

"I couldn't name a better player in the Premier League than Luis. He makes it easy playing alongside him. I think we played well together and hopefully that will carry on."

Carroll's start to his Liverpool career has not been as straightforward as he would have liked.

"I've been disappointed to be sat on the bench," he added.

"But when you are left out it just makes you work harder."