Liverpool Club Focus – Time for Carroll to find his feet

The last time Liverpool lost three consecutive Premier League games was in Gerard Houllier’s final season at the club in 2003-2004. Back then, the Reds were beaten by Charlton, Arsenal and Portsmouth in September/October, however Kenny Dalglish’s side will be hoping to avoid a repeat of that when they face Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield this weekend.

The Reds were beaten 1-0 by Mick McCarthy’s men in the corresponding fixture last year, in a game that turned out to be Roy Hodgson’s second-to-last at Anfield as Liverpool manager. But, despite the Merseysiders’ recent two top-flight defeats, things are much different now. Liverpool have a stronger squad and a friendlier face as manager, so the fans are confident their side will be able to turn this blip around.

Dalglish certainly has several interesting options at his disposal if he wishes to shuffle his pack. Fiery Welshman Craig Bellamy scored his first goal on his return for the club against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Carling Cup, and the speedy forward looked more than ready for a first-team start in the Premier League as he terrorised the Albion defence frequently. Will he replace £35m target man Andy Carroll, who started the last league game against Tottenham, but was left out at Albion?

Carroll is still finding his feet as a Liverpool player. The former Newcastle hero did suffer from injury problems in the last campaign, however he is now fit but not firing on all cylinders. Dalglish has purchased creative players over the summer in order to try and get the best out of Carroll, however the partnership between the inventive midfield and the towering Carroll is still a work in progress. However, the young Englishman will have to start finding the net soon, before the media begin to label him as a flop – just as they are doing with Fernando Torres.

On a more positive note, skipper Steven Gerrard came of the bench at Albion to make his first appearance for the Reds in six months. The return of the Huyton-born midfielder will boost Dalglish and his side ahead of the game against Wolves. Gerrard will be used sparingly until he is fully match-fit, yet the very sight of him playing on the pitch has delighted many supporters.

Speaking about Gerrard, Dalglish said: “The thing with Steven is that if he is around the football club and in the squad, fit and available, it does not half strengthen the squad. The most important thing for us is to continue the way we have done so far – to make sure we are responsible enough to get him through this and move him forward. We will continue to be as diligent as we have been. We just need to take it as it comes and he understands that. He has taken great encouragement from it as well and everybody is positive.” It will be important to see whether England boss Fabio Capello is ready to treat the midfielder with as much caution.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Liverpool v Wolverhampton

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