Editorials — October 6, 2011 20:19

The Problem With Andy Carroll

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What’s wrong with our Andy?

You have cost your club 35 million pounds, your international manager thinks you have a lifestyle problem and your game to goals ratio is almost 1 in 4.

Well, if we believe the press then there are many problems with Andy Carroll but if we scratch the surface we might see a different picture.

The Price Tag debate

Let’s all agree on one thing: Andy Carroll did not set the price tag.

It would seem that Newcastle set the price and Chelsea paid it. Chain of events that started off with Torres wanting to move to Chelsea on deadline day arguably set the tone for the price of Andy Carroll’s move.

Had Chelsea paid Liverpool £20 million for Torres would we still be talking about a £35 million pound price tag for Andy Carroll? Probably not, once it was public knowledge that Liverpool were about to receive £50 million pounds on transfer deadline day, the domino effect had begun.

With Liverpool about to lose their prolific striker Torres, and with time running out, they needed a replacement. Enter Andy Carroll into the mix, the 22 year old had just won promotion back into the Premier League and had started the season on fire, a young centre forward who had plenty to offer. Andy had been scoring goals for fun and was demonstrating he had the temperament and all qualities of a fine finisher.

Kenny Dalglish has built his Liverpool teams in the past around a reliable and well grounded striker. The King did the same thing during his managerial spell at Blackburn. Dalglish’s Blackburn side possessed a strong centre forward in the shape of a goal machine, Alan Shearer, they went on to win the league.

Debut

Sitting in the Anfield Road End I remember Carroll coming on against Manchester United last season and his first touch was a towering header – classic Andy. We need wingers now I thought so that we could get the ball into him.

Watching Ian Rush rubbing his hands as Andy Carroll made his debut, reminded me how Ian Rush’s career began tentatively but once Liverpool’s number 9 got going there was no stopping him, Rush himself notching up 346 goals in his Liverpool career.

If it took Ian Rush some time to settle in then time must also be given to Andy Carroll.

Injuries

Let us not forget that Carroll has come to us injured (goes to show you how much Kenny and Damien Comolli rate him) and the message coming out from the club – he was a long term investmentabsolutely! A young striker brought to the most decorated club in football brings with it pressures and aspirations.

When Andy Carroll scored those two crackers against Manchester City we were jumping up in celebration. His first, a truly thunderous strike that nearly ripped open the net. The truth was these were just glimpses of his class as the injury he was carrying was still affecting his fitness.

But he’s had his pre season what could be affecting his form now?

The lifestyle issue came to our attention when Fabio Capello spoke about it in one of his press conferences.

My question is this: considering the way some of the current England players are and have been behaving on and off the field, what makes Andy a special case? Should you really be getting the cold shoulder treatment from your manager, compared to some of the revelations that have hit the England squad. In my opinion your message should be consistent and in this case Capello’s is not.

If this was a big issue then surely the club would have dealt with it but again their message has been consistent: there is no issue. He went to a Boyzone concert with The King earlier in the year and he seems quite settled having stated that the Liverpudlians and the fans that he has met have been warm and welcoming

Goals

So how can Andy makes us feel dandy? Strikers are about goals. That’s how the record books remember them. But we would do well to remember the finer points of a striker’s game

Andy got his first league goal in the derby over the weekend and had another cleared off the line.

He’s also scored in the Carling Cup. With decisions not going our way, Carroll had an incorrect foul given against him in the first game of the season against Sunderland, when he put the ball into the back of the net. The list goes on. Strikers aren’t just goal scorers. They work as part of the team and I think that is one part of the game that Andy has improved on.

Against Everton he defended from the front and linked up with the players quite nicely, particularly when the substitutions were made to win us the game. He was always looking for the ball. He consistently made the right choice rather than being an unconfident player who was desperate to get on the score sheet.

Seeing him score on Saturday reminded me of the potential he has. He didn’t lash at the ball when it came to him. His technique was perfect and he was very calm and cool. Look at his technique for the goal against Exeter, something out of nothing and it was in the back of the net.

So what can we give Andy?

We always give our players support. That is The Liverpool Way and is something that sets us apart from other teams and fans. We are a proud club with rich history and traditions and the Liverpool family will always looks after their own.

In Andy Carroll’s case it can be very easy to get caught up in the headline grabbing world we live in. Sit back and look at what is being said and why?

Scratch the surface and you’ll get the answer – Andy Carroll – Liverpool’s number 9.

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