Liverpool's Hobbs on stand-by for first Premier League start

Last updated at 13:59 07 December 2007

Youngster Jack Hobbs is on stand-by for his first Barclays Premier League start for Liverpool even though Rafael Benitez is confident Jamie Carragher has recovered from injury and could play at Reading tomorrow.

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Carragher has overcome a rib problem, but is also one booking away from being suspended from the following weekend's home clash with Manchester United.

Jack Hobbs

The defender was injured by his own goalkeeper Jose Reina in Sunday's 4-0 win over Bolton - a game in which he was replaced by Hobbs - and manager Benitez may take the opportunity to rest him ahead of the visit of Sir Alex Ferguson's men to Anfield.

However, Benitez said: "Jamie is fit and can play, and I think he is clever enough to play without getting booked.

"If Carra is fit, it is not a problem, he can play. But we have experience in the squad, plus youngster Jack Hobbs playing well, so we have alternatives."

Whatever Benitez decides on for the trip to Berkshire, Hobbs believes he is ready to stake his claim for a first-team place.

"If I can fill in and help out, I will do," he said. "Obviously I would look forward to it and feel I am ready. I was a little bit nervous when the manager told me to get ready to come on against Bolton on Sunday.

"When he called me over, I did not know that Carra was injured, but when I was told I was going on I was excited and nervous. I just wanted to get out there and do my best.

"It is another step in my career and more experience for me - maybe I can get another chance at Reading.

"It depends on injuries how often I play this season, but I will keep training hard and see what happens and, if I get a chance, I know I must take it."

He added: "I am relieved and quite pleased to have finally made my Premier League debut. I am just glad to have got a run out, really happy.

"I had been on the bench a few times but I had not been part of it in the league.

"I was glad to just get out and do my bit for the team against Bolton. Sami Hyypia was alongside me talking all the time and he really helping me out.

"It was good to have someone with that experience alongside you. It was a little worrying coming on against Nicolas Anelka, who is such a good striker, but I was pleased to get out there no matter who it was up against."

Liverpool will still be without long-term injury victims Xabi Alonso, Jermaine Pennant, Daniel Agger and Fabio Aurelio against Reading.

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