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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 July, 2005, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Crouch completes Liverpool move
Peter Crouch
Crouch will give us more possibilities
Rafael Benitez
England striker Peter Crouch has completed his 7m move from Southampton to Liverpool after passing a medical.

The 24-year-old has signed a four-year deal and will join his new team-mates on tour in Switzerland.

"I am thrilled to be joining a club as prestigious and successful as Liverpool," he said.

"Once I heard of their interest in me it was hard not to think about what it would be like to pull on the famous red shirt and play in front of the Kop."

Crouch added on Stellargroup.co.uk: "I was also very aware of my responsibilities towards Southampton.

"Southampton bought me from Aston Villa and allowed me to play regularly in the Premiership, resulting in an appearance for England in the summer.

"This helped my career tremendously and has now given me the opportunity to move to Liverpool and play on an even bigger stage, something that no-one could realistically expect me to turn down."

Crouch will also be teaming up with England colleague Jamie Carragher, who is delighted to welcome the striker to Anfield.

Carragher said: "Besides Thierry Henry, Peter has been as good as any striker in the Premiership in the second half of the season.

"He was outstanding even against the top teams. His performance against us at Southampton was probably sufficient to get him a move.

"He was a nightmare to play against personally, and he scored at the back post. He got in behind me. It was my fault."

Crouch is expected fly to Liverpool's training camp in Switzerland on Thursday and could make his debut on Saturday against Olympiakos in Liechtenstein.

Liverpool previously had bids of 6m and 6.5m turned down for the 6ft 7in forward, while West Ham, Charlton, Middlesbrough and Manchester City were also very interested.

But Crouch only ever wanted to join European champions Liverpool and will now return to the Premiership, following Saints' relegation last season, and taste Champions League football for the first time.

Reds boss Rafael Benitez said: "I'm delighted we have signed him. He is a good player with a lot of qualities and his arrival will give me more options up front.

"I think he will be ready for the game against Olympiacos on Saturday.

"It depends on his physical condition but he has been training with Southampton so he should be OK."

Crouch began his career as a trainee at Tottenham, but was allowed to join Queens Park Rangers for 60,000 in 2000 and, after scoring 12 goals for them in his first season, Portsmouth bought him for 1.5m.

In 2002, Aston Villa paid 5m for him but the move did not work out and, after a loan spell at Norwich, he was sold to Southampton in 2004 for 2m.

Crouch was only to spend one year at St Mary's, scoring 16 goals, before relegation and then a summer of transfer uncertainty, which was finally ended when Liverpool's 7m bid was accepted.

In between, the striker made his England debut in the 3-2 win over Colombia on 31 May.

Saints manager Harry Redknapp has now sold Crouch twice, for a combined 12m, having been in charge at Portsmouth when Villa bought him.

But this time Redknapp had been desperate not to do a deal, believing Crouch could have helped Southampton back into the top flight.

"I wanted to keep him, but it's a board decision, and 7m is too much to turn down," Redknapp told BBC Radio Solent.

"I've now lost Henri Camara, Kevin Phillips and Crouch and a lot more.

"We've got to strengthen the squad urgently if we're to have any chance at all of getting back into the Premiership."

Redknapp admitted he was surprised at the fee Liverpool were prepared to pay.

"I don't have a problem with Crouch being sold, I know the money was too good to turn down.

"I can quite understand why the club sold him - 7m is a terrific fee for a player that not many would have given 700,000 for six months ago.

"He was not getting a kick here then I put him in the team and he was excellent for us. He had a great six months and good luck to him."

Crouch will become Liverpool's sixth summer signing with Jose Reina, Boudewijn Zenden, Momo Sissoko, Mark Gonzalez and Antonio Barragan also joining the European champions.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Former England boss Graham Taylor


Interview: Southampton manager Harry Redknapp


Interview: Crouch's former team-mate Jamie Redknapp



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