Liverpool’s next great number 9

A big factor in this debate is the lack of game time Carroll has had because of his trouble adapting to the Liverpool style of play. Newcastle got the most from the striker because they utilised their wingers, getting in plenty of crosses and long balls that allowed Carroll to use his power and top class heading ability. Now at Anfield, the fluid, attacking style of play is unsuited to his strengths and despite Dalglish bringing in Stewart Downing to get crosses in, the plan is yet to succeed and with no out and out winger on the right the goal chances are drying up.

This is why he is dropped even after scoring important goals. Grabbing a goal in the Merseyside derby was a big step in getting the fans on side but in the following games against Manchester United and Norwich he was back on the bench and prevented from building his confidence.

The reason for this has been the superb form of Liverpool’s other signings. Fellow January signing Luis Suarez has been a revelation at Anfield since joining from Ajax, scoring freely and fitting in seamlessly so when Carroll was given the opportunity to play he has been expected to do the same. And this season, Craig Bellamy has marked his return with his own passionate displays which have put unwarranted pressure on the £35 million man.

It is easily forgotten that last season was his first campaign as a first-choice Premier League striker and he was instantly thrown into the limelight with 11 goals in 19 appearances for Newcastle. His performance against Arsenal in the Magpies’ 1-0 win showed his immense potential but at just 22 he is yet to develop as a rounded football and reach his peak, and having been signed whilst injured, manager Kenny Dalglish clearly has the “six years not six months” mindset with this buy.

Andy Carroll is a superb talent going through a rough patch. He has scored 17 goals in 56 Premier League games during his career, hardly a poor record for someone so young. Every footballer has a spell like this and the best players always come through it. His injury problems have made the spell last longer and the fact that Liverpool are off the pace has left everyone wanting answers. If the club were really becoming impatient with him it would be clear to see but with the form of Suarez and Bellamy it is simply a matter of Dalglish playing his best team on the day. Dalglish is confident that Carroll will repay his price tag and so should everyone else. The fans and the media need to lay off him and let him get to what he knows best. The best years of his career are ahead of him. He will be Liverpool’s next great number nine.

Article is courtesy of Joshua Robbins at Football Fancast