Liverpool FC: Andy Carroll Gives Kenny Dalglish and Fans Taste of Things To Come
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With a famous victory over Manchester United almost a surety, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish gave Liverpool fans their first glimpse of record signing Andy Carroll on Sunday.
Liverpool's new No. 9 certainly did not disappoint and gave his manager and the fans real food for thought as to what he will bring to the Reds' attack and to their overall team play.
Dalglish started with Carroll on the bench, as many fans thought he might; with no competitive football in 2011, this was no real surprise. But with 15 minutes left in the game and three points pretty much in the bag, Dalglish gave Carroll his much-awaited debut.
In the buildup to this heavyweight clash, Dalglish had been stating how pleased both he and the club's coaching staff had been with Carroll's all-round contribution to the club and the efforts he had made during his recovery.
With such a huge price tag hanging around Carroll's neck, Dalglish has been careful not to raise expectations for the young English striker so as to allow him to find his feet in his new surroundings. Consistently, there has been the continued stance that he has been brought to Anfield for the long term and that he has a real long-term future at the club.
So as the game clock ticked into the 74th minute and Carroll stripped off his training top, Liverpool fans at Anfield and all over the world witnessed Liverpool's No. 9 shirt with Carroll spelt out on its back for the first time, and a new era was born.
Fernando Torres, who last donned Liverpool's No. 9, was suddenly, well and truly, a player now of the past; what Anfield and the world were seeing was Liverpool's future.
Early indications are the Reds' famous No. 9 shirt may well be in very safe hands.
A fantastic moment was captured by the television cameraman as Carroll made his entry onto the pitch; as he ran on, the picture switched to probably the most famous Liverpool No. 9, Ian Rush, who was seen rubbing his hands together in anticipation and glee.
Rest assured, Rushy, your shirt of old seems to have found itself a new and worthy owner.
Carroll's very first contribution in a red shirt was to tower over the Manchester United defense and win a solid header. The Anfield crowd went wild; Andy Carroll, Liverpool's new No. 9, had announced his arrival in the most emphatic manner possible.
It would almost have been too perfect had Carroll knocked the ball into the back of the net from that very first won header, but Dalglish and the fans knew this was the first of many a header won by their new striker.
Carroll also headed solidly away from a corner and gave hat-trick hero Dirk Kuyt a very presentable chance to volley home another when he headed a great knock down into Kuyt's path.
In the 15 or so minutes that Carroll was on the pitch, he did enough to whet the appetite of all Liverpool fans and his manager.
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But Dalglish was quick to play down any suggestions of greatness to come from Carroll and simply said that he was happy to see the club's record signing finally make it onto the playing field.
As debuts go, Carroll's was not the most spectacular, but that is not to say it was not a landmark. Liverpool had their new strike force on the pitch for the first time, and that was something that the fans and the club were extremely pleased to see.
The new Liverpool No. 9 certainly made his presence felt in the 15 or so minutes he played and left the Anfield crowd baying for more. From what was witnessed, there is an eager air of anticipation and a quiet confidence that Liverpool may well have spent their money very wisely indeed.
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