Peter Crouch has confirmed that he is thinking about leaving Liverpool this summer in pursuit of regular first-team football after being marginalised at Anfield because of the success of Fernando Torres.
Torres has been a huge success in his first season in English football and it is now clear that manager Rafael Benitez regards his most effective line-up as one in which the 28-goal Spaniard operates as a lone forward supported by Steven Gerrard pushing forward from an advanced central midfield position.
As a result, Crouch has made just seven starts in the Premier League all season and, despite a fine goal in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Arsenal, the England forward cannot see a "disheartening" situation changing in the short term.
He said: "I would love to stay, it is a fantastic club and I love everything about it, but I have got to be realistic.
"If I want to have any aspirations of playing for England, or furthering my career, then I have to be playing - and that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.
"I will have to look at it - but that's certainly something I won't be doing now, I will be doing it at the end of the season."
Crouch has been reassured by Benitez that he will get chances to play when Liverpool operate a two-forward system and has been offered a new contract by the club. But the 27-year-old has not been encouraged by what he has seen recently.
He added: "Obviously if the manager plays one up front, he is more than likely to go with Fernando - and rightly so, he's been fantastic this season.
"Before when he was rotating at least I was getting a game here and there. But the manager's obviously stuck with a formation now that seems to be working, and credit to the players that have been playing in that system.
"We have certainly been playing well and I think we have got a great chance of going through to the semi-finals now in Europe. For me, I will just have to obviously keep working hard and try and change his mind.
"It can be disheartening, but you have to keep going."