Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers sees a role in the first team for striker Andy Carroll upon his return from his loan spell at West Ham United.

The Reds agreed a loan with a view to a permanent deal with West Ham last summer, but the England international has netted just six goals in 20 league games, the latest coming in the weekend draw with Southampton.

Having signed Fabio Borini from Roma, Rodgers was keen to send Carroll on loan in order to gain some valuable game time with his new-found philosophy at Liverpool expected to conflict with the 24 year old's physique.

But the Northern Irishman has made a U-turn in his assessment of Carroll, claiming the ex-Newcastle United forward has a role to play in the revolution at Anfield.

Andy Carroll
Carroll has scored just six league goals this season.

"The objective this season was to get Andy playing games," said Rodgers. "I came in the summer and he had had a frustrating period up until that point, where he maybe hadn't played as much as he would have wanted to play.

"So he felt that this was a season when he needed to get games. I couldn't guarantee that was going to happen.

"But there's absolutely no doubt that come the end of the season, we will sit down and talk because he is a player who can contribute to what we're trying to do. He's a good guy.

"He came in and trained a bit in the summer and we had open conversations in terms of where he was at. So there's no problem.

"He just wants to play football. A certain style will suit his game but there's no doubt he can get goals.

"It's just about the style that is going to utilise his strengths and qualities. He and I will speak at the end of the season and we will take it from there."

With West Ham's safety in the Premier League yet to be assured, despite the 1-1 draw with fellow-newly promoted side Southampton, manager Sam Allardyce says the Hammers will take no decisions over the future of Carroll, who is the club's joint top scorer, until the end of the season.

Liverpool signed Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea in the January transfer window, as well as Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan, and the duo have assisted in swelling the Merseysiders' goal tally, with only Manchester United and Arsenal having scored more in the Premier League.

Having paid Newcastle £35million for his services in the January of 2011, Liverpool are looking for a fee in the region of £17m for Carroll, a price West Ham are likely to baulk at, not least due to the forward's paltry goal tally.