Benitez hints at Kirkland exit
By Tom Adams. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has hinted that Chris Kirkland's future may lie away from Anfield if he requires first team football next season.
The Reds custodian, signed from Coventry for £6 million in 2001, is one of English football's most talented goalkeepers but a string of injuries have inhibited his development over the past five years.
A loan spell with West Brom that initially started full of promise also turned sour as he lost his place to Tomasz Kuszczak then suffered a broken finger that ruled him out of the rest of the season and the World Cup.
Kirkland is due to return to Liverpool in the summer but the player himself has admitted Benitez will be looking to sell him, with West Brom keen to retain his services.
With Spanish star Jose Reina, UEFA Champions League hero Jerzy Dudek and England prospect Scott Carson all on the books at Anfield, Benitez admits Kirkland will struggle to get the regular football he craves next season.
"It is difficult because he is a good keeper, but with Pepe Reina, Jerzy Dudek and Scott Carson here, playing will not be easy for him," said Benitez.
"We have been playing well this season and keeping a lot of clean sheets.
"We will talk with him and his agent to find a solution. He needs to play games."