Poulsen: Reds can challenge for glory

The Denmark midfielder signed from Juventus earlier this month and

made his Reds debut in Thursday’s Europa League play-off victory

over Trabzonspor at Anfield. Poulsen is now hoping for his first

taste of Premier League action as Liverpool take on big-spending

Manchester City at Eastlands on Monday night. After splashing out

more than £120million on new players in the summer, City are

expecting to break into the top four at the very least this season.

Liverpool slipped out of that elite group last term but Poulsen

believes they too are well capable of qualifying for the Champions

League. Poulsen, who watched as the Reds opened their campaign with

an encouraging draw against Arsenal, said: “I think we have to have

a strong enough squad to compete with the big teams. “I think we

showed last Sunday the team is ready for the Premier League and I

hope we can have a win at City. “I am glad to be here and I look

forward to playing with my new colleagues. “I need to get the

rhythm of the teams here at Liverpool but we have a good squad.”

Poulsen, who cost £4.5million, showed some of his quality on

Thursday by firing narrowly over the bar after winning the ball and

linking well with Milan Jovanovic. The 30-year-old also had a goal

disallowed after a debatable foul on the goalkeeper by team-mate

Joe Cole. Hodgson was impressed enough with his first outing and

would have no hesitation using him again, although the likes of

Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano are set to return. “The

opposition was of Premier League standard, no question, and I

thought he played very well,” said Hodgson. “I am surprised how

well he played considering how little match practice he had. “I am

satisfied with his performance. If he can perform well against

Trabzonspor he can perform well in the Premier League.” Despite

continuing speculation over his future, Mascherano is hoping to

overcome a calf muscle injury to feature. Daniel Agger is doubtful

after suffering concussion against Arsenal. The likes of Gerrard,

Glen Johnson, Dirk Kuyt and Martin Skrtel are back after being

rested on Thursday, but Cole misses out as he begins a three-match

domestic suspension.