Ever since his mega money move from his boyhood club Newcastle to Liverpool, striker Andy Carroll has perhaps been one of the most high profile flops to grace the pitch in the English Premier League. Following a series of niggling injuries, the Englishman struggled for form and failed to find the back of the net as often as he would’ve liked.
Although the big man has had his detractors, there is one glaring fact that many tend to overlook. Liverpool have now been for years a team without proper wingers. While they paid over the top for a player like Stewart Downing, the signing failed to give them some much needed impetus out wide. This basically meant that Carroll, who primarily thrives on crosses and is basically a targetman, had virtually no service to capitalise on.
To make matters worse was the immense pressure that was put on his shoulders. The young man, who had played a handful of games in the top flight, was signed as a replacement for Fernando Torres, one of the most lethal strikers that the game had seen, something that obviously weighed on the player’s mind. Moreover, it was not as if Carroll did not show glimpses of his talent, most notably against Manchester City, a match where he bagged a brace, with the first goal being through an audacious header.
Had Kenny Dalglish, the man who got Carroll to the club, still been in charge of the club, then the striker may have had some more time. But as soon as the Reds appointed Brendan Rodgers, a man who loves to play attacking tiki-taka football, as their manager, the writing for Carroll was more or less on the wall.
Therefore it does not come as a surprise that the striker has now been loaned out to Premier League newcomers West Ham. This move, albeit a step back in the player’s career, could just be the trigger to his resurrection as a top quality player. The most important factor that could work in his favour is the way Sam Allardyce likes his team to play.
Allardyce essentially loves to employ a long ball strategy in all the games that his side plays. This basically means that the entire team lobs the ball forward to a targetman, exactly the sort of football the Andy Carroll would thrive on. Some reports suggest that the player is still keen on a return to Anfield after his loan spell and one feels that everything now depends on the next one year.
Carroll has the perfect chance to get amongst the goals and with his friend Kevin Nolan once again there to guide him, his morale, which had visibly taken a hit over the last year, would once again soar, thereby making matters easier for him on the field and possibly opening the doors for a return to Anfield.
Liverpool on the other hand could actually pay the price for moving Carroll on. While Rodgers’ playing style is commendable, what is also irksome is the fact that he doesn’t seem to have a Plan B. While his philosophy might work wonders against teams that like to attack in a similar manner, he might struggle to beat opponents who park the bus. In fact, had Carroll stayed on, then it might just have been easier to beat teams such as Arsenal, who lack height and can generally be bullied around by teams having larger players.
Moreover, Carroll had shown signs of coming back to form towards the fag end of last season and was even in good touch during his outings with England which means that moving him on in a hurry, especially after acquiring an even more inexperience replacement in the form of young Fabio Borini really cast shadows over Liverpool’s transfer policy once again.
For now though one can only say two things with surety. Both Carroll and Rodgers have time on their hands, since Carroll is young and the Liverpool hierarchy are willing to give Rodgers time to rebuild the fledgling squad. This basically means that Carroll’s tryst with the iconic Liverbird is far from over and the striker could once again end up strutting his stuff on the rapturous stadium that is Anfield if all goes well for him this year at Upton Park.