This Andy Carroll saga, then, isn’t it a strange one? If you wanted to characterise the fans of a club, those at United would be fly-by-night but numerous, those of Arsenal shallow and demanding, and the Liverpool fans are essentialy Jekyll and Hyde in 40,000 red shirts. Last year the common consensus was that even if Andy Carroll got into a goal-scoring position he’d subsequently butcher it, and the fans would not have been unhappy to see him leave, but a goal at the European Championship has seemingly turned the tide.
There were some signs at the end of last term that he could be returning to form, although if I recall one of those was a game against a Chelsea side so focussed on the Champions League final that they probably didn’t even know who they were playing, or at least John Terry didn’t. Over the summer Liverpool acquired one of the hottest young managers in many a year in Brendan Rodgers, and he has been as polite as possible about Carroll whilst making it clear there isn’t a lot of room for that sort of player in his system, which is hardly a surprise.
These combining factors seem to have caused a sea change in opinion at the club, and now each rumour about the big man moving is met with despair, cries of ‘give him a chance’ that I suspect would be a good deal more quiet if the player weren’t about to become an 18-month loan at the cost of £15m. As good as Carroll can be, and I’ve no doubt about his potential, it will never happen for him in a side where the emphasis is on quick play and winning the ball back within seven seconds of losing it, especially when you consider it can take him longer than that to change direction, sometimes.
It seems as though the club will cut their losses, then, and probably look to replace him with Joe Allen and maybe Clint Dempsey, depending on how many shirts they want to sell in the States. The American has drawn a fair amount of derision himself since being linked with the club, and not every fan will see how he can fit in, but compared to Andy Carroll he is the missing piece in the jigsaw. It’s not been an easy time for the Geordie lump, and who knows, the next move could be the right one for him if not his club.