Will the real Andy Carroll please stand up?
That will be the question that many Liverpool supporters will be asking following last weekends FA Cup semi final victory over Everton. For some, the glaring miss from yards out with his side one goal down was every bit symbolic of Carrolls time on Merseyside as others hope the eventual winner will turn out to be.
There can be no doubt that Andy Carroll has struggled to settle at Liverpool. The price tag appears to weigh heavily around his neck, as does the constant media attention that being worth €35 million brings. All strikers hope that a transfer to a club like Liverpool will bring with it the early goals to justify the fee but those were not forth coming for Andy Carroll.
In an attempt to explain his slump in form, it is perhaps wise to compare the way Newcastle United played around their talismanic striker compared to Liverpool. Newcastle set their side up in an effort to get the very best from Carroll, they played two wingers who’s sole purpose was to feed the ball as efficiently as possible in the direction of their young striker. Goals flowed and before too long, the England call up arrived and Andy Carroll looked to have the footballing world at his feet.
Liverpool have done it differently though, the form of Luis Suarez and the positioning of Steven Gerrard have meant that Andy Carroll has never been central to his sides plans. Often used in a deeper role, often not used at all, Carroll struggled to impress. There have been signs recently though that this may change. Both Suarez and Gerrard have suffered a dip in form meaning that Carroll has been given more chances to stake a claim, leading to the winner against Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League and the cup winner against Everton.
His honesty looks genuine on the field of play, Liverpool fans will hope this is joined by that lethal eye for goal that made Andy Carroll his name and big money transfer. Watch this space.