Pressure on Liverpool’s Andy Carroll to perform
Liverpool striker Andy Carroll will no doubt be glad to see the end of the current Premier League season. The former Newcastle frontman has hardly been value for money after finding the net just ten times in 53 appearances for his new club since his £35 million transfer last January.
With Liverpool consistently dropping points against teams in the bottom half of the table such as Swansea, Norwich City and, more recently, West Bromwich Albion, the 23-year-old must be cursing his luck at seeing his former club currently within reach of a Champions League place.
It is mathematically impossible for Liverpool to climb up the league table and compete for a Champions League place – they will, at best, only be playing Europa League football next season. That is a disappointment to most ambitious Reds fans.
With strike partner Luis Suarez missing so many games this season through injuries and suspension, Liverpool’s lack of quality strikers has seen Carroll often left to fend for himself up top for many of the games this year – often without any real support from midfield either.
Captain Steven Gerrard, one of Liverpool’s best players going forward in recent years, has also spent much of the season stuck on the sidelines so Carroll has had to rely on players such as Lucas, Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvey to provide the ammunition for him.
Summer signings Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing have both had slow starts to their Anfield career and their poor form has surely contributed to Carroll’s lack of goals.
The six foot two inch frontman must have thought he had turned the corner after his side edged out Blackburn Rovers in a 3-2 victory at Ewood Park a few weeks ago. With Liverpool down to ten men, the Reds reverted to a 4-4-1 formation and Carroll had to feed off scraps all game, before eventually scoring the winner in the final minutes of the game – a goal that his performance thoroughly deserved.
It is vital that Andy Carroll finishes the current campaign well to give himself the best chance of going to Euro 2012 with England. With much of the current crop of English strikers being shorter than Carroll, many think it is very much a two-way battle between himself and Stoke City’s Peter Crouch for the ‘target man’ role in England’s final squad.
With his physical and aerial presence, many would say Carroll’s robust style of play offers the team that little bit more as a target man than Crouch who, despite his size, has very silky feet and looks very comfortable in possession of the ball.
Whether Roy Hodgson takes Carroll to the Euros or not, next season will be the biggest of the Liverpool man’s career, with many Liverpool fans still questioning the £35 million price tag. It is imperative that Carroll is given the kind of quality supply that saw him score bags of goals at Newcastle United.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Liverpool v Chelsea