Smalling sets Liverpool goal target

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Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has set his sights on a goalscoring return to action against Liverpool this weekend.

The 22-year-old England international was absent during Sunday's epic 3-3 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and has been one of a number of defensive casualties in a season of woe for the Red Devils on the injury front.

However, Sir Alex Ferguson's side remain in the fight for the title and are just two points behind 'noisy neighbours' Manchester City going into this weekend's fixtures.

A win against Kenny Dalglish's side would add to the pressure on the Citizens, and Smalling is hoping to help the strikers with a goal against the Reds.

"I’m definitely working hard on my role at corners and free-kicks in order to make an impact," he told Inside United and the official United website.

"When I joined, one or two of the coaches pointed out that they were looking for goals from the centre-halves. Obviously Nemanja Vidic scores a few and if you can add goals to your armoury it’s a massive plus point."

The former Fulham defender has previously shown an eye for goal, scoring against Scunthorpe United in the League Cup during his debut season for United and notching striker versus Chelsea and Manchester City this term.

It's a trait the player is hoping to continue, although Smalling is well aware that stopping opposition strikers from getting past is his main task for the champions.

"Hopefully I’ll keep finding the net and contribute a bit more in the future. I don’t want us to be relying all the time on the strikers for goals," he added.

"I think centre-forwards are changing a little bit. We’re used to defending against either big strong forwards or quick nippy ones. But the likes of Demba Ba [Newcastle] and Bobby Zamora [ex-Fulham, now QPR], as well as a few other strikers in the league, combine elements of both and I think that’s made things a little more difficult for defenders.

"That could be a reason why we’re seeing a lot more goals."

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