Andy Carroll
Liverpool forward Andy Carroll has scored two goals in 18 games this season. REUTERS

Liverpool legend Jan Molby has backed beleaguered Reds' striker Andy Carroll to put his recent troubles behind him, starting with Saturday's clash with Stoke at Anfield.

Carroll has struggled to hold down a regular starting place this season but Liverpool's record signing has been given an extended run in the side following Luis Suarez's eight-game suspension.

The Liverpool striker started Wednesday's Carlin Cup semi-final first leg match against Manchester City but failed to make an impact in the 1-0 victory.

However, aforementioned Liverpool legend Molby believes the striker could prove crucial against Stoke this weekend.

"We all know what to expect. Stoke play very direct and take no prisoners," Molby told the official Liverpool Web site. "They will go piling in and we must match them physically.

"We need a physical presence against Stoke and I think Andy Carroll will come in handy in both penalty boxes.

"It certainly won't be easy because after a tough start to the season, Tony Pulis's side have really picked up over recent months."

"The City game will have taken a lot out of the players and I'd expect Kenny to make a few changes. After a big win, it's all about ensuring the players are mentally prepared to go again."

Manager Kenny Dalglish echoed Molby's remarks and revealed he is confident his side have rediscovered their goal scoring touch at home after a slow start to the season.

Prior to the recent 3-1 victory against Newcastle, the Reds had gone six home games without scoring more than one goal but Dalglish is confident the side have turned a corner after they hit eight goals in their last two home matches.

"The last two games (at home) we've won by three and five, so that is rewarding for us, and probably both those performances were worse than the ones we got draws in," he told his pre-Stoke City press conference at Melwood. "As somebody once said, it's a funny old game!"

The Liverpool manager also admitted he is likely to be without midfielder Jay Spearing for the visit of the Potters, after he was forced off with a hamstring victory in the midweek victory over City.

However, the manager is confident Spearing will not be side lined for too long.

"Jay's not as bad as what we thought at first. He might be touch and go for tomorrow, but he should be okay for next week," he said.