Carroll's been widely regarded as one of the worst transfers in Liverpool's history but the impact he's had at West Ham suggests that he may have been dealt a bad hand at Anfield.
Once touted as the brightest young talent in the country, he went from being regarded as the ideal striker to partner Wayne Rooney in the England squad to being ridiculed and labelled a flop at Anfield, it’s been a sensational fall from grace for Andy Carroll. Following his meteoric rise to stardom in the black and white stripes of Newcastle United, Carroll failed to make an impression at Liverpool and subsequently moved to Upton Park on a loan deal. The striker has voiced his opinion regarding his time at Liverpool and claims that he was never afforded a fair chance at Merseyside.
To a certain extent, one does sympathize with the towering striker. He arrived at Liverpool with a glowing reputation and endless potential. However, he was injured at the time and in unfamiliar surroundings where the style of play was far from what he was used to at Tyneside. When he took the stage in front of the Anfield faithful, he wasn’t judged as a 21 year-old making his way back from injury in an alien environment and in a disjointed team. Instead, the former Newcastle man was subjected to the high expectations that come with a £35 million price tag.
Carroll struggled to meet expectations at Liverpool
Most players would crumble if they were thrust into that kind of spotlight only to have their every move scrutinized and ridiculed, let alone a young striker trying to regain his match fitness and form. The expectation that he was supposed to come in and score goals a plenty to lead Liverpool in a revolution under Kenny Dalglish in order to rescue them from mid-table mediocrity was unrealistic to say the least.
Dalglish perhaps never kept faith with his record signing either. Towards the end of last season, Carroll was finally starting to find his feet and his confidence soared after he got a few goals under his belt. However, he wasn’t afforded the chance to mould that form into something more significant as Dalglish denied him the opportunity to get a good run of starts together to keep that momentum going.
He was inexplicably dropped for the FA Cup final when he was enjoying a rich vein of form leading up to the game. When he was introduced as a late substitute at Wembley, he almost single-handedly took the fight to Chelsea, scoring a goal and nearly grabbing the equalizer as well. When you take those factors into consideration, Carroll’s frustrations for being left out during Dalglish’s regime are justified.
Carroll gave Liverpool hope in the FA Cup final
One has to question Liverpool’s thinking when they did bid for the Englishman. Surely they would have known that his strength was undoubtedly in the air and that he wouldn’t offer much in terms of link-up play or running the channels? If they did realize that, then it should also have dawned on them that he would need a particular system in place to make the most of his abilities and bring the best out of him.
He never got the quality service he desired from the likes of Stewart Downing and Dirk Kuyt or even Jordan Henderson when he was played wide. Players around him were never on the same wavelength when he attempted to provide them with knock-downs from which Kevin Nolan had fed off extensively when the two plied their trade at Newcastle.
Under the Brendan Rodgers revolution, Carroll was deemed unfit for his style of play from the onset. No blame could really be attached to Rodgers for that as he was given the task of transforming Liverpool’s style of play and trying to accommodate Carroll certainly wasn’t going to help his cause. Having said that allowing the striker to leave on a loan deal without securing a replacement was a poor decision on Liverpool’s part and with Fabio Borini currently side-lined through injury and Luis Suarez being the only senior striker in the squad, it has had embarrassing repercussions as well.
He's getting back to his best with the Hammers
Carroll has since made four appearances for West Ham United and although he hasn’t made a direct contribution to the side in terms of goals or assists, he has made a distinct impact. Sam Allardyce is more than familiar with the system that makes the best of use of the target man’s best attributes and he has used it to good effect. Carroll’s presence in the penalty box has disrupted oppositions’ defences and will continue to do so.
Owing to his dedication and work-rate every time he donned a Liverpool shirt, Carroll has earned a certain degree of empathy from the Anfield faithful. It looks as though his time as a Liverpool player may be complete just as soon as the club are offered a decent fee for him. Carroll still has plenty to offer and can flourish in the right team while his role at West Ham at the moment seems to suit him perfectly.
Can Andy Carroll replicate his Newcastle form at West Ham? Leave your comments below...
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