Whenever a club is underachieving it seems inevitable that somebody will become a scapegoat. It is one of the few guarantees in the beautiful game with many players succumbing to this fate. And Andy Carroll is the latest to be reined in.
After joining on deadline day in January, Carroll has been unable to hit the heights expected of him as the £35 million replacement for Fernando Torres which has led to the media and some Liverpool supporters wondering whether he is up to the task.
Questions have been raised over his on-pitch attitude, fitness and lifestyle, but with Kenny Dalglish refusing to criticise the striker, it seems that people on the outside have got it in for him. So is this a case of the media sensationalising something that all players go through? Or is patience starting to run thin with the 22-year-old?
Nobody can doubt that Carroll has so far failed to live up to expectations but it is becoming redundant to read that spending £35 million on a striker should equal goals and his so far goal shy Anfield career makes him useless. And while it is obvious that strikers will be judged by how often they get on the scoresheet, it is not the only thing to consider.
His time on Merseyside has been plagued by injuries that have prevented him from showing his power and eye for goal. Having joined the club with a torn thigh muscle it took until March before he could finally make his debut and after opening his account with two goals against Manchester City and looking sharp he suffered another injury setback, which has been linked to a lack of professionalism. But many young players suffer injuries when they play a lot of football and as the main striker at St. James’ Park it was likely that his body would suffer some affects.
On top of that, England manager Fabio Capello said that he needed to control his drinking to reach the top but club manager Dalglish rubbished these suggestions. When asked by a reporter about the player’s off-pitch antics the Scot claimed that “nobody knows” what his lifestyle is and that the press “milk” an unimportant issue. It is clear that King Kenny does not believe there is a problem and if the man that sees him day in and day out has no worries, then there is little to argue.