You want a sensible discussion about Andy Carroll? I’ll try my best.
First off, you cannot view or discuss Andy Carroll without talking about Luis Suarez.
When we bought Luis Suarez, we had spent years scouting him. We decided to bid for him and play him with Fernando Torres- a typical number 9, who was fast, played on the shoulder of the last defender and was capable of drifting to the wing to create space for attacking midfielders to run into. And he was a deadly finisher to boot.
That was Plan A. Suarez and Torres.
But then Torres decides to leave. And what do the people in charge decide to do with plan A? They flush it down the toilet. Instead of going and buying a player similar in style if not class to Torres to partner Suarez, as was the plan, the powers that be decided to buy the Torres’ antithesis.
Instead of partnering Suarez with a mobile striker, they decided to partner him with a player with little movement. Instead of having a good finisher, with good football intelligence who thrived on first time balls on the deck, they went and bought a player who preferred a more direct approach.
Plan A well and truly ripped apart.
I never understood the logic in this. Anyone who’s watched Suarez for us or Uruguay can see what it takes to get the best out of him: play him with players with great movement, good footballing brains who are adept at quick one touch pass and move football. But despite our years of scouting we decided to partner him with a player who had none of those attributes.
Carroll was injured for much of last season and Suarez thrived, scoring 4 goals (0% with Carroll on the pitch) and combining magnificently with Maxi, Kuyt and Meireles. All players with good footballing brains and movement, who understood Luis’ game.
The few times Carroll was on the pitch it seemed their partnership was not working. West Brom, Sunderland, Arsenal saw 4 points and very little combination between the 2 players. The City 3-0 game gave us hope, as Carroll bagged 2 and created a chance for Suarez who hit the post. But then he got injured again.
With Carroll out we played Birmingham, Newcastle and Fulham, and won by 13 to 2. The movement and fluidity of the front 4 was a sight to behold at times. All interchanging postions, playing one touch football, combining well. All things that bring the best out of Suarez.
Carroll gets back in the side vs Spurs, and we lose 2-0 with very little combination between the 2 strikers yet again.
It was obvious to me then that we were going to have a serious problem incorporating Carroll. How do you fit such a player, who’s at his best when offered direct football, in a team that plays the sort of football Luis Suarez thrives on? How the hell do you combine the two?
It’s impossible in my opinion and this season proved my fear.
In the Summer, we decided to spend a small fortune on players designed to get the best out of Carroll. In the process, we got rid of one player who combined greatly with Suarez last year, Raul Meireles. This strategy is, in my opinion, is the direct reason why we’re 8th in the league.
We had hit on a winning formula with Carroll out but because of his price tag, the powers that be felt forced to buy players to get the best out of him. Instead of targeting a rich man’s Maxi, they went for a rich man’s Mark Walters . Instead of a better Meireles, they went for a worse Meireles. Instead of a building on the blueprint of success we’d stumbled unto, they ripped it up.
All to justify why they bought Andy Carroll.
And how has Carroll repaid them? By putting in absolute average, lazy performances for 90% of the season. He’s been, generally, absolutely woeful for most of the season. His touch has been awful, his goal threat nonexistent, his work rate questionable and his compatibility with Suarez invisible.
He’s got 3 goals against premier league sides all season and one assist. I don’t care if he cost 35m or 5m, it’s nowhere near good enough.
More than that, his partnership with Suarez has looked, again, to be restricting the side. I know the arguments and stats out there: the ones that say that the mere sight of the Big Yin’s pony tail makes Suarez’s shots hit the post and go in instead of hit the post and go out. But the real stat that matters is that in all competitions, Raul Meireles has created as many goals for Suarez as Andy Carroll has. And Raul’s played 15mn with Luis all year.
And vice versa too. Suarez has created two goals for Carroll in all competitions. Quite simply: they don’t get. Suarez wants to pass and move, Carroll wants crosses and headers. They couldn’t be more different if they tried. Defoe or Owen would thrive on Carroll’s knockdowns but Suarez is a lot more than that.
I’m sick to death of the excuses people make for his poor form and attitude. I really am. First it was he’s injured. Then it became he’s not fully fit. Then it was we didn’t have the players to get the best out of him. Then it was Kenny not playing him enough. Then it was because Luis was so good it made him look bad. Then it was because he wasn’t fully fit. Then it was because Gerrard was out. Then it was confidence and he just needs a goal. Then it was moving to another city. Then, it was his age. Then, It was the fans fault. Then it was Kenny’s fault again.
Fuck that. He’s been close to woeful for most of the campaign. Yesterday was the last straw for me. He had 80m to make an impact against Newcastle, tripped over himself when clear on goal, completely messed up a 1-2 with Suarez, moved terribly for Shelvey and was then subbed off.
How did Carroll thank Dalglish for playing him yesterday? By running down the tunnel when subbed and shouting expletives at him. Instead of kissing the feet of the man who’s taken so much stick defending him, he embarrasses him.
And, the killer is, people still find excuses for him. Apparently it was bad managing by Dalglish. Give me a fucking break. Carroll is the first person I’ve ever seen in my 26 years supporting us who’s run down the tunnel when subbed swearing at the Liverpool manager. And people still want to absolve him of any blame. Utter joke.
Dalglish has stood by him, defended him, born the brunt of so much criticism for buying him, spent fortunes on other players to service him and changed a winning formula to accommodate him. And despite a season of utter awfulness, he gives him the chance to score against his hometown club. And this idiot disrespects him like that. Who the hell does he think he is?
I want him gone. First and foremost because I think he’s the complete opposite of the player who can get the best out of our number 7. And secondly because I don’t think he has anywhere near enough respect or affection for this club.
Rip up fucking Plan B and go back to Plan A. Partner Suarez with a typical number 9, who is fast, plays on the shoulder of the last defender and is capable of drifting to the wing to create space for Lusi to run into. And who’s was a deadly finisher to boot.
And condemn the Carroll fiasco to the annals of history.