How does Andy Carroll fit into Liverpool?
Firstly, the calibre of opposition we were playing was a lot higher than we have become accustomed to in recent weeks. Spurs came out of the blocks yesterday fully motivated and dominated the first 30 minutes of the game. Against Newcastle United especially a couple of weeks ago, the Reds got away with an average display in the first half, one which would have been punished by better opposition. Spurs were that superior opponent and took advantage. Unlike against the aforementioned Man City, where the Reds started like a house on fire, Spurs fully deserved their 1-0 lead at half time.
The big difference between the City and Spurs was not the presence of Andy Carroll, as he started both matches, it was a lack of intensity in the midfield areas. Here’s a useful quote from the match programme from Steven Gerrard:
“In the last four or five games, especially, we have recovered possession in areas where we haven’t in the past. Against Man City goals came from us winning the ball back outside their area.”
In the big games against Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City at home this season, high pressing and high tempo have been the feature of our games in the three wins and a draw; in the defeat to Spurs, this was lacking. Combined with decisions from the referee, the lack of match fitness from Andy Carroll, the lack of performances from players who needed to be at the top of their game, and a great defensive display from King and Dawson, it all contributed to a limp 2-0 defeat.
To answer the question from the opening paragraph, how does Andy Carroll fit in to Liverpool’s pass and move philosophy? The answer is simple, if he gets the service he needs he will score goals. We don’t need to change our style and hoof the ball to accommodate him. We can pass as sublimely as we have been in recent matches and still use him as a key outlet. Bring in players who both compliment him and the team, and combined with our short passing style, we will have a strong aerial presence and an extra dimension to ensure we are covered for all eventualities when games are tight.
Article is courtesy of David at fLive4Liverpool