Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted he allowed Andy Carroll's loan move to West Ham United only because he was confident of making new signings before Friday's transfer window deadline.
England striker Carroll, 23, has joined Premier League rivals West Ham on loan for the season. The deal will see the London club pay a £1 million loan fee and cover his wages, but without the guarantee of a permanent move at the end of the campaign.
Temporarily at least, it ends a frustrating 17-month spell at Anfield for the forward, who was signed for £35 million from Newcastle on deadline day in January 2011 and so became the most expensive British footballer of all-time. Carroll made just 26 starts for the club and Rodgers, after replacing sacked Anfield great Kenny Dalglish in July, made it clear the powerful target-man would find it hard to fit in to his passing style.
He has made just two substitute appearances -- totalling 18 minutes -- under Rodgers, who will not sanction a return move to Newcastle. The striker initially turned down the chance to join West Ham last month but has decided to move to London on the promise of regular football from manager Sam Allardyce, whom he played under at Newcastle.
Charlie Adam and Jay Spearing could also leave before the transfer deadline and Rodgers, who has been linked with Fulham's Clint Dempsey and Arsenal's Theo Walcott, is sure he will be able to fill the hole left by Carroll. "We're making a strategic decision for him to go out and play games but we need cover players to come in and help the group," Rodgers explained.
"So we hope over the next 24 hours that can happen and that could only be the case because otherwise we'd be short of numbers. I've had conversations and good communication with Andy through the summer. It's been difficult in this period for Andy. He hasn't played as regularly as he would have wanted and he wanted to play regularly this season and I couldn't guarantee that.
"He and I spoke - he wants to play and unfortunately for us we're not in a position to have a £35 million player not playing regularly. The club made a monumental investment in Andy but there's no use him being on the bench. There was a chance to go out and play and demonstrate his qualities. It allows us to move on and assess it over the season."
Rodgers' side host Arsenal on Sunday after reaching the group phase of the Europa League with a 1-1 second leg draw with Hearts. Liverpool led 1-0 from the first leg but goalkeeper Pepe Reina allowed a weak David Templeton shot past him with six minutes left.
However, the Reds avoided extra-time when Luis Suarez managed to get a shot inside the near post from a tight angle. Reina also made a mistake in the 2-2 draw with Premier League champions Manchester City last weekend but Rodgers insisted he'd no concerns about the Spaniard's form.
"Pepe has been brilliant since I've come in here. He will be a pivotal part of how we work and excellent off the field. He understands the ideology of what we're trying to do and it's part and parcel of the game. Goalkeepers make a mistake and sometimes it leads to a goal."
Hearts manager John McGlynn praised his side by saying: "There's a moral victory in there somewhere for Scottish football for the way we played over the two legs. I'm very proud of every player and the way we matched Liverpool all over the pitch."