Kenny Dalglish feels Liverpool will benefit from the services of a fully-fit Andy Carroll, who is starting to show why the Reds acted so decisively to bring him to Anfield in January for such a huge fee for a young player.
With three goals in six appearances during pre-season, Carroll looks to have returned to full fitness after his injury problems with the summer break giving him time to recuperate and ensuring he’s ready to fire on all cylinders in the new season.
"Andy's injury meant he was only able to train at 100 per cent on rare occasions last season," explained Dalglish. "He even played in some games when we knew he wasn't going to be at his best.
"Now he is fully over that knock and has been able to do a lot more on the training field in pre-season. That's showed in the games he has played over the last few weeks. He's fitter and scoring some goals."
Liverpool start their 2011-12 campaign with a home tie against Sunderland, just seven days after seeing off the challenge posed by Valencia in front of the Kop, bringing an end to the club's pre-season schedule.
It was also a first opportunity for summer arrivals Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson to get a taste of football in their new home, something that Dalglish feels will prepare them well for Saturday's encounter.
"It was good for Jordan, Charlie and Stewart to get a run out at Anfield prior to the real action starting this weekend," he said. "That will benefit them all.
"We wanted to improve the squad this summer and we think we've done that by bringing in the individuals we have. We want to compete at the highest level possible and we feel those players can help us do that."
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