Liverpool Club Focus – Lethal left-foot of Carroll provides food for thought

Ever since powerful striker Andy Carroll completed his astonishing £35m move to Liverpool last January, the towering Englishman has frequently been criticised for his failure to consistently find the back of the net. One view held by many fans is that the Anfield outfit are simply not playing to Carroll’s strengths.

They believe that the former Newcastle idol does not fit into Liverpool’s elegant pass-and-move style. The obvious solution, according to some, would be for Kenny Dalglish’s players to provide Carroll with a better level of service from wide positions, in order to give him an opportunity to find the back of the net with his head. While an improvement in crosses and set-pieces would benefit Carroll greatly, people seem to forget that there is more to the 23-year-old’s game than just the ability to stand at the back post and pray for a tasty ball to head past the opposition goalkeeper.

In fact, five of Carroll’s six goals since he moved to Anfield have been scored without his head. And of those five goals, three have been stunning left-footed drives from outside the area. The first of those eye-catching goals came last season, as Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners against fellow big-spenders Manchester City. The second of his superb, long-range goals for the Reds came earlier this season in the Carling Cup against Exeter City and the third victim of his powerful left-foot was Oldham Athletic goalkeeper Alex Cisak in the recent FA Cup tie.

Carroll has looked dull and disinterested when standing around in the box waiting for good deliveries and Liverpool have simply not been creating enough golden opportunities for the youngster. But when the commanding striker takes matters into his own hands and shoots from long-range, he seems to produce the goods. So, apart from obvious attributes such as his strength and height, why do people still suggest that Carroll’s main problem at Anfield is the lack of service he is given?

Liverpool fans have seen enough of their number nine to know that he is as deadly with his left-foot as he is with his head – and so far, using the former has provided him with greater rewards. While Carroll does not seem to be as good with his feet as former lanky Reds striker Peter Crouch, he certainly has enough power to cause real damage. Some suggest that the Liverpool forward does not possess lightning pace, but he makes up for this with the ability to shoot almost unexpectedly from long-range.

So if Carroll is proving to be more useful with his feet, then shouldn’t Liverpool be looking to play to this hidden, rarely talked about strength? The answer is yes – the expensive hit-man has shown just how much havoc he can cause outside the area and if Dalglish can urge his other players to provide Carroll with the opportunity to shoot from distance, then this could be of great benefit to the team. Of course, Carroll’s height and strength make him a perfect target from corners and the raw striker will have to improve from these situations. If he continues to impress with his shooting and adds more goals to his game from set-piece situations, then the Reds will have an effective player with more than just one trick in his locker.

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