In what has become quite a tradition at Anfield in recent seasons, the 2012 summer transfer window provided its share of action on Merseyside, although not necessarily the kind Reds fans will have been wanting.
Perhaps the biggest talking point surrounding Liverpool by the time the clock struck 11 on August 31st was the fact that Andy Carroll was allowed to leave the club on loan without any forward being purchased in return.
Even Brendan Rodgers has conceded since then that he would not have allowed his striker to leave had he known reinforcements would not be had, but the manager really shouldn’t be quite so down on the matter.
In his 18 months of playing in front of the Kop faithful, Carroll was far from remarkable. Brought in for the grand fee of £35 million, one would even be permitted to suggest that the Geordie had turned out to be an ever-dreaded “flop.”
In 58 appearances for Liverpool, Carroll managed to net 11 goals, only six of which were in the Premier League. That equals an average of less than a goal every five games—hardly the mark of an expert marksman.
This is compared to the 33 goals that he managed in 91 games for Newcastle United, averaging a far more respectable goal every 2.75 games.
However, as the striker has shown at West Ham, Carroll’s attributes mean that he’s used for more than simply scoring goals and is arguably a better provider of goals than a finisher himself.
Much to the disappointment of Rodgers and Kenny Dalglish alike, some players simply don’t fit in with the football philosophies of some club. Carroll would appear to be a prime example of this, finding it difficult to mesh in the red of Liverpool and live up to his massive price tag.
And it is the price tag that could of course play another massive factor in the Carroll saga, as some players find that they simply don’t have the resolve to bear such heavy burdens.
At just 23 years of age, Carroll still has a considerable amount of time on his hands and it’s perhaps better that these flaws be exposed and overcome early in his career, rather than find out later on.
On Tyneside, Carroll was merely a boy that had grown up in the club, playing to nobody’s expectations but his own, and exceeding expectations at that.
By the time he had become the most expensive British footballer of all time, it’s fair to say that these expectations were well and truly raised, and it’s also fair to say that he coped badly.
Now in East London, Carroll’s reputation is marred, his head bowed in humility and it all works marvellously in his favour.
While the world may still be watching, the England international would already appear to be flourishing with the weight of expectation lifted from his shoulders, and it’s rediscovering that form that could yet prove vital in his Liverpool tenure.
With Fabio Borini now injured and Liverpool turning to their youth academy for attackers, one would think that recalling Carroll from his loan spell in January would be the most logical route to go down.
However, as Goal.com report, Brendan Rodgers says that he won’t be doing such a thing and Carroll should be breathing a sigh of relief as a result.
Should Rodgers’ claims be true, it means that his on-loan forward will be able to inconspicuously get along with his game at Upton Park and get back to what he once did best: scoring goals.
The Liverpool boss is having to let the likes of Raheem Sterling, Suso and other forwards get their share of playing time, and it’s likely that summer signings Samed Yesil and Oussama Assaidi will get a bigger share of first-team matters.
So, while Carroll’s presence back on Merseyside would be welcome by some, his absence means that the Reds are giving youth prospects their crack of the whip, and they are thriving in their higher responsibilities.
If Carroll had stayed with his parent club, his reputation would have meant him still taking up squad space but not performing as well as others are at the moment, making for a waste on both sides of the coin.
Not to get too emotional on the subject, but I believe the famous rom-com saying is that “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back it’s yours.”
Liverpool may not have let their striker leave completely, but his temporary departure from Anfield will undoubtedly work in the club’s favour, no matter how bleak things may sometimes appear with him gone.