The January transfer window merry go round provided a glimpse of Kenny Dalglish’s intent. The King of Anfield has wasted little time in stamping his authority and making his presence felt.
Out went Konchesky, a player who hadn’t enamoured himself with the faithful – scapegoated for his form in a team woefully shorn of confidence. El Pistolero Suarez was rapidly secured for just over £20 million, and on an astonishing transfer deadline day, Torres confirmed rumours that had provoked incredible levels of hysteria.
The Spaniard travelled to Stamford Bridge on deadline day to join “a big club,” whilst the latest Geordie protégé was helicoptered over to Melwood to complete a record breaking switch to Anfield. In a further sweep of intent Dalglish followed up the capture of Suarez by shattering the club transfer record to secure the services of Gateshead born Carroll.
“Nobody is bigger than the club,” proclaimed John W Henry when quizzed about Torres’ decision to join an ageing Chelsea – a team that has it’s work cut out to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Andrew Thomas Carroll came through the Magpie ranks. He was a prolific reserve striker and became the youngest Newcastle first teamer to play in Europe, making his first team debut against Palermo in 2006.
His FA Cup debut experience in 2007 was one to forget as the Magpies were thrashed 5-1 at St James Park by Birmingham City. His league debut against Wigan in the same year was also a one goal defeat. As a rising star in the North East, Carroll did win a consolation – the 2007 Wor Jackie Milburn Trophy.
After a six month loan at Preston the giant striker, singled out for praise by Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon after he scored against him, returned to Newcastle.
After Newcastle’s relegation from the top flight in 2008/09 the club were shorn of the services of Martins, Viduka and Owen. Carroll was given a sustained first team chance and the new kid grabbed it hungrily. With the prolific scouser Kevin Nolan in top form, the deadly duo helped fire Chris Hughton’s Newcastle to immediate promotion.
An inspired Carroll completed a memorable season by becoming top scorer with 17 league goals – 19 in all competitions. The partnership with Peter Lovenkrands had clicked and for the subsequent Premier League campaign Chris Hughton handed Carrol the distinguished no.9 shirt worn by the likes of Milburn, MacDonald, Cole and Shearer.
Carroll started off with a bang - a first career hat-trick against the Villa in the Geordies 6-0 in August.
Having starred for the under 19s, under 20s and under 21s Fabio Capello knocked back interest from Scotland (Scottish grandmother) to give Carroll his first England cap against France in November 2010.
Carroll is a bustling, traditional no.9. He is a massive presence, big in stature, as strong as an ox and possesses good technical ability. Steve Clarke and the bootroom boys will develop him even further.
The new Lou and Andy partnership has shades of Toshack and Keegan and the Anfield faithful are already licking their lips in anticipation of what could turn out to be a formidable front pairing.
The last time a big name striker left Anfield was when Kop hero Michael Owen left for the sunnier climes to become a Galactico at Real Madrid. The Reds duly went out and won the Champions League.
In 1977 Kevin Keegan left to join Hamburg after scoring 100 Liverpool goals. He was replaced by a wee Rangers supporting Bhoy named Kenny Dalglish. Torres’ switch to Chelski will bring back fond memories for the old timers, who will share stories of Keegan and Owen’s departures and the success thereafter.
As a fan I’ve always been of one mindset - I agree with Carra: “it’s best that Fernando left, especially as he was so unhappy here.
“We now have two new and young lads who are hungry to prove themselves as Liverpool players.”
I said the same when Gerrard was nearly lured by Roman Abramovich’s millions. Nobody outshines the institution that is Liverpool FC.
As my mate Bootle Jan told me this week: “He could’ve been Kenny, he chose to be Owen - Thanks for the goals Torres, please don’t bang the door on the way out.”
Lou and Andy have arrived and Liverpool’s little and large act will terrorise defences for years to come.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.