It was just over a year ago when a certain player named Andy Carroll helped Newcastle gain promotion to England’s top league and had the Geordie faithfuls singing his name.
As of that moment, the 6ft 3in striker was valued at around £1m. Little did he know that less than 6 months later, he would have be the most expensive British player in the history of the game and seemingly the whole world at his feet. In the months that followed, Carroll set the Premier League alight. He was the typical old-fashioned English centre forward who bullied defenders left, right and center. He often drew comparisons with George Best and Toon legend Alan Shearer, both for completely different reasons.
Carroll fast became one of the hottest properties in England and propelled Newcastle high up the table by forming a excellent understanding with Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan. With the knack of scoring goals on a regular basis, he often single-handedly lifted Newcastle away from the danger zone. His performances on the pitch soon caught the eye of Fabio Capello and Andy Carroll made his international bow against France in November. Hence, in a matter of 6 months, Andy Carroll not only became a senior England international but had seen his market value rise to £35m.
Thus, as the new season gets underway, Andy Carroll will be carrying Liverpool’s hopes along with the exorbitant price tag on his shoulder. However, despite his tender age of 22, Anfield’s new record signing oozes confidence and maturity and he is more than capable of withstanding the pressure that comes hand in hand with a big-money transfer. Come the start of the new season, Andy Carroll will be pivotal to Dalglish’s plans as recent summer acquisitions of Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing have both been made with the idea in mind that they would provide the much needed creative spark from midfield to support Carroll and his strike partner Luis Suarez, something which was lacking last term. With an influx of cash, Kenny Dalglish has made the most of an opportunity to build a team around the young Geordie and it would come as no shock if he is indeed the focal point of the team next campaign.
The striker needs to fire on all cylinders if the Merseyside giants are to have any chance of a top four finish this year. There is no doubt that he will have a massive role to play as Dalglish has put together a team that will suit his style of play perfectly. Simply put, if Andy Carroll hits top form, he can almost single handedly bag three points for Liverpool. He is gifted with the rare ability to storm through defenses and the physical aspect of his game will certainly give Liverpool a new dimension to play with.
On the other hand, after investing heavily in the transfer market to build a team capable of supporting Carroll, the onus will be on the player to perform and carry the team forward and should he fail to do so, Kenny Dalglish will have an huge problem on his hands. The player is well known for his tendency to have mood swings and to be lazy during games – a habit which might find Liverpool lacking on the attacking fronts as they perhaps do not have the depth of some of their rivals.
Strangely, Carroll has been on the wrong end of some unjust criticism by some of the more naive Liverpool fans following a poor pre season display so far where despite showing glimpses of his true brilliance, especially against Valencia, he has still failed to impress many pundits. Often playing alone up front, he cut a lonely figure in most of the club’s friendly fixtures and seemed way off the mark regarding his match sharpness.
However, it must be taken into context that he has lacked the supportive play of Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing as both players are still getting accustomed to Carroll’s style. Moreover, once Luis Suarez makes his much awaited comeback to the team, he will be licking his lips at the kind of playmaking prowess Liverpool now possess. As the new season gets underway in a couple of days’ time, Dalglish and co will also have to work overtime to rectify all the anomalies they have encountered in pre season so far.
Nonetheless, the future looks bright for Andy Carroll and Liverpool but there is still a long way to go for him to justify his £35m price tag and prove the doubters wrong.