Liverpool: What Andy Carroll Exit Says About Rodgers' Plans for Reds
Brendan Rodgers no longer includes Andy Carroll in his plans for Liverpool this season, but what does this revelation tell us of this plan?
According to BBC, the Reds intend to sell the player and are not willing to to let him leave on loan. This choice solidifies the fact that Carroll is no longer a part of the team's future in both the short run and the long run.
With the BBC also reporting that several bids have been rejected, it still remains unclear whether Carroll will be able to leave before the end of the transfer window, but the team must begin to move on without him now.
Carroll began the team's opening loss to West Bromwich on the bench, and were he to stay it seems inevitable that he would remain there for much of the season. In the 12 minutes he played, he was ineffective.
The time Carroll spent off the pitch allowed for insight into where Rodgers' intends to take the team and why Carroll is on his way out.
1. Dribble as Opposed to Headers
As he demonstrated with his goal against Sweden at Euro 2012, Andy Carroll's biggest strength as a forward is his headers. He is 6'3" and has the capacity to power home headers over the majority of defenders.
The fact that Rodgers no longer deems Carroll to be a necessity is a clear sign that he intends to move away from headers being a key component of the offense. Rodgers wants the team to abandon it's play on the wings that leads to crosses and adopt a style of play more reliant on dribbling and passing.
2. Play in the Middle
Besides the situation with Carroll, another move made by Rodgers this offseason demonstrates his plan. By signing Oussama Assaidi, Liverpool confirmed the change they are implementing in their offense.
Along with Luis Suarez , Stewart Downing and Fabio Borini, Assaidi forms a quartet of forwards that tend to play with the ball at their feet and in the center of the field.
By playing in the middle as opposed to on the wings, Liverpool will hope to establish offense through dribbling and passing. This system does not benefit Carroll, who is at his best when given space and the opportunity to use his physical skills.
This plan is only confirmed with the report by The Daily Mail stating Liverpool is attempting to acquire Clint Dempsey from Fulham. Dempsey is yet another offensive player best used in a system that encourages control of the ball.
3. Play with Speed
Beyond a more dribble-oriented attack, the new Liverpool will also play with significantly more speed. Suarez, Downing, Assaidi and Borini will play with a higher pace of offense in order to encourage through balls and offensive movement.
This causes a problem for Andy Carroll as he is nowhere near being the fastest man on the pitch. His style of play slows down the offense and would force his teammates to remain calmer in building the attacks.
Perhaps using those players to create space to give Carroll room to take on defenders with his size would have created a dynamic offense, but Carroll's exit makes it clear Rodgers wants speed, not size.
4. Gerrard's Role
Rare are players more symbolic of their teams than Steven Gerrard. However, the Liverpool captain is in the latter stages of his career at the age of 32, and no longer plays with the same speed and vigor.
This means he will have to adapt to a new role, and this squad is built to use his skills. He can now use his beautiful passing to create openings for his speedy forwards while continuing to be a threat with his outside shot.
Gerrard was poor against West Bromwich and couldn't seem to distribute the ball properly. However, with time, this new squad will allow for Gerrard to remain relevant in the offense.