One person joked on twitter during the Man City semi-final first leg at the Etihad that should any Liverpool player be caught passing to Carroll, they would be booked for wasting time.
Funny but also a shame. Let’s not forget, this is one of England’s hottest young prospects.
At £35m Andy Carroll represented a remarkable gamble for Liverpool Football Club and so far, you’d have to argue that it is a gamble that hasn’t paid off. But whose fault is that? Can a square peg fit in a round hole? I remember hearing the news on deadline day last year that Carroll was Anfield bound in a deal worth in the region of £35m and being completely gobsmacked for two reasons.
Firstly, the transfer fee was hugely inflated for a player still relatively inexperienced in the top flight and secondly – and perhaps more importantly – that the move was to Liverpool Football Club.
It just didn’t make sense.
Liverpool Football Club have always played a certain brand of football, which is accepted as “The Liverpool Way” and which their fans demand whatever the circumstances. The…erm…wonderfully crafted lyrics “Pass and Move (It’s the Liverpool Grove)” didn’t come from nowhere and it’s an ethos the club has stuck with throughout.
In fact, the style of football was perhaps one factor Roy Hodgson never really lasted at Anfield. It wasn’t just results that spelt the end it was how they went about it that never quite sat right with the Kop. Kenny Dalglish knows more about this style of football than most. He’s played and managed with it. So why buy a big lump of a centre-forward, who is a real throw back to the 80’s? The days when teams played with wingers who could actually get to the by-line and the big man-little man partnership upfront was the norm?
With Torres fast approaching the exit door and the team starting the season poorly, one could argue replacements were needed but with the Suarez deal being finalised at that time, was Carroll really needed? The signing always had the hallmarks of being a statement of intent from the new owners more than anything else but I wonder what intent it has shown. Some will argue that he has never had a run of games or joined the club injured and has never been fully fit but the reality is, he’s just not a Liverpool type player.
At Newcastle, Carroll was the star act and the whole system of play was set up around getting the best out of him. At Liverpool that won’t and indeed shouldn’t happen and the lad looks like a fish out of water. He is nothing like the big brash centre forward we became used to seeing at Newcastle and it is difficult to see things changing anytime soon.
There have been talks of him returning to the Toon Army in the January window but with prices being spoken of in the £10m bracket, it is unlikely that will materialise. That’s probably his true value at present – and was probably his true value last year – but the grotesquely over-inflated fee paid by Liverpool means they will be unwilling to take such a hit. Particularly in a window that is notoriously difficult to bring quality in.
Dalglish has already shown his stubbornness with the Suarez saga and it is difficult to imagine he will admit defeat so early here. But he must. Carroll is almost becoming a side-show at Liverpool and one they could well do without. Suarez’s ban should have seen the start – albeit a late start – of Carroll’s Liverpool career but instead, many fans turned their attentions to Craig Bellamy to fill the void. As the clubs record transfer, surely that can’t be right?
Stewart Downing was clearly signed to provide the ammunition for Carroll but with the ex-Villa man starting slowly at Anfield also, it hasn’t really happened. Sometimes, for whatever reason, a player and a club just don’t fit. It seems that way with Carroll. Maybe Liverpool is too big for him? Maybe the transfer fee does weigh heavy on his shoulders? Maybe Newcastle is where he should be and remain?
There’s nothing wrong with being a one man club, just asked Steven Gerrard whose new deal will ensure he finishes his career how he started it, a Liverpool player. And what of the finger of blame? Well perhaps it’s nobody’s fault. As I say sometimes it just doesn’t work. But whilst many Liverpool fans will see no wrong in anything Kenny Dalglish does, the fact remains that in Carroll, Downing and Henderson, the best part of £75m has been spent, so far with little return.
The American Owners are certainly wealthy but they clearly aren’t in the same bracket as the Manchester City hierarchy and it is difficult to imagine they will continue to bankroll signings that show little sign of return either on the pitch or in terms of re-sale value. Particularly, if another season passes by without the riches gleaned from Champions League qualification.
With the usual suspects in and around the top 4 and Tottenham’s emergence as a real force, Champions League qualification has perhaps never been so tough. It will be a long time before the Anfield faithful heap pressure on a man they see as one of their own but those across the pond may have less tolerance.
Interesting times ahead.
Add a Comment