Andy Carroll needs to be given more time to settle in at Anfield, but people don’t seem to be willing to give it to him.
Maybe it is his £35million price tag, or the fact that he is such a conspicuous figure, but there seems to be no mercy for him.
On January 31 last year Carroll moved from Newcastle United to Anfield and became the second most expensive signing for a British club.
His fee was only surpassed by the £50 million Chelsea spent to bring Liverpool striker Fernando Torres to Stamford Bridge.
Carroll was injured when he made the transfer across the north of England and didn’t make his debut for over a month.
Many people seemed to think that, as soon as he was fit, the 22-year-old would be playing regularly and scoring goals just as often.
This was an unfair expectation on a player so young and especially one who has clearly not been fully fit since he has been on Merseyside.
Having been a Red for just under year, Carroll has only played 27 games in all competitions and scored six goals.
It may be because he scored 11 goals in 21 games for Newcastle the season he moved to Liverpool, but many commenters seem to think that Carroll is naturally a prolific goal scorer.
If you look at his stats in previous seasons, he has never really been at the top of the scoring charts.
In his breakthrough season for the Toon, he scored a mere three goals in 16 appearances.
When Carroll was a regular starter during the Magpies’ Championship campaign he scored 19 goals in 42 games – a decent return but it was hardly at the highest level.
There is also the question of his physique and how it may be affecting him.
He stands at around six feet and four inches and is very broad, but he can be deceptively quick for such a large man.
Part of Carroll’s effectiveness has been his athleticism coupled with his size, which has led people to believe he can lead an attack by himself but his technical ability isn’t yet as good as it needs to be for that role in the Premier League.
Injuries can also become more frequent for someone his size and there is the possibility of his swashbuckling style compounding any muscular problems he may have.
This is why his return cannot be rushed and his role may need to be re-evaluated to that of a provider and finisher.
Liverpool’s system hasn’t been ideal for Carroll either, as Luis Suarez has been the Merseysiders’ stand out player this season but only really when he has been playing up the middle.
This has meant that Carroll has had to content himself with substitute appearances or playing in less important fixtures.
There has been the option of playing Suarez wider but Kenny Dalglish seems to prefer Stewart Downing and Dirk Kuyt on the wings – something Carroll is not suited to.
Until Liverpool change the formation they play or Carroll begins to convince up front, people will not be seeing his best regularly.
Perhaps it is time to reconsider the way we see him as a footballer and give him more time to grow into an unfamiliar city and system.
Maybe it is the £35 million fee hanging around his neck, but Andy Carroll does not seem to be himself at the moment – we need to just wait for him to properly arrive.
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