Andy Carroll: What's Wrong with the Liverpool Striker?

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Andy Carroll: What's Wrong with the Liverpool Striker?
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The month of January proved monumental in Liverpool Football Club's direction. Much-maligned manager Roy Hodgson was sacked, paving the way for Kop favorite Kenny Dalglish to take over the helm.

On the 31st, Fernando Torres, considered one half of Liverpool's star tandem, left for Chelsea, leaving a huge void in the Scouse attack.

Thankfully, John Henry and NESV brought in two strikers to replace the departed Spaniard.

Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll, two very different players by nature, were acquired to replace Torres, whose departure had been impending for quite some time. Liverpool gained two offensive threats for a net price of £7 million.

Immediately, the team's performance changed.

The Uruguayan endeared himself to the Kop, scoring on his debut against Stoke City before playing a vital part in Liverpool's 3-1 win over Manchester United. His stamina, work rate and trickery made for a quick emergence.

Suarez has gotten his Liverpool career off to a flying start; Carroll still hasn't gotten off the ground.

This is not to say that Carroll isn't a talented player.

The Gateshead-born center-forward bore the iconic No. 9 shirt, which has been worn by players such as former Toon great Alan Shearer.

Carroll bagged 17 goals during the 2009-'10 season and another 11 while playing for Newcastle in 2010-'11. His size, aerial prowess and hammer of a left foot are all attributes which cannot be denied.

Despite all this, he has failed to assert himself at Liverpool.

Injury woes prevented him from making his debut until the aforementioned match against United, where he forced a save with his first touch, a header.

It took him five games before he notched his first goals for the club, bagging a brace against Manchester City. That game proved what he is capable of—a 25-yard screamer to open the scoring and a beautiful header to add to it.

However, there is no doubt that, while not comparable to Peter Crouch's 19-game wait for a goal, it took the former Newcastle man quite a while to score.

His performances this year haven't been anything to celebrate, either.

A strike against Everton and a well-taken goal away to West Brom have been overshadowed by missing sitters against the likes of Norwich and Swansea City—both teams that Liverpool drew with.

His work rate and motivations have been questioned by many—most notably England boss Fabio Capello, who says that Carroll "needs to drink less" if he wants to be a top player.

If his own boss even questions him, then who's to say that others won't?

Suarez has divided opinion with his antics. However, there is no questioning the Uruguayan's talent or passion as he bamboozles defenders before leaving them for dead.

He runs, runs and runs some more. It is without doubt that he wants to be on the pitch.

Carroll, on the contrary, has often cut a lone, lost figure when playing. He often drifts towards the wing, deviating from his home in the center of the pitch.

Though he doesn't have the pace that some strikers do, he could definitely put in a bit more effort running-wise, as he is often found waiting for the ball.

Simply put, he seems to lack passion.

If Carroll wants to prove the doubters wrong, he's got to play with a bit more heart. Yes, he may be overvalued, but there is no doubt that the man has talent—John Henry wouldn't have paid such a sum for a player whom he knew would be relegated to the bench.

Carroll has great potential and talent; he just needs to find the answer in how to improve his performances.

Regardless of the answer, there is one thing that remains true: Until he starts delivering, Andy Carroll will continue to be labeled as an overrated flop.

And there's no way he can fly as a flop.

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