31 August 2012

On Andy Carroll and Charlie Adam

I've said it before. If a manager doesn't like a player, doesn't want a player, it's almost always better to cut bait immediately.

But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

There's little I can add to James Tyler's wonderful piece for ESPN FC on Andy Carroll.
The new Liverpool is one of Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen. Of Adam Morgan and Fabio Borini. If you loathe Rodgers for being so swift to dismiss the likes of Carroll, at least credit him with having an identifiable plan. Unlike with Dalglish, there appears to be a crystalline method to such madness, even if it does mean Carroll's depressing demise.
Aye, there's the rub. So be it.

As painful as it is to admit, still, Carroll was a misguided purchase to begin with. Rodgers clearly doesn't believe he fits with Liverpool's future – he did everything but drive Carroll to London himself, and he probably didn't do that only because Liverpool had a match yesterday. Liverpool want him off the wage bill, and Carroll wants and needs to play regularly. And Liverpool simply can't get a better offer at the moment.

Personally, I'd still prefer Liverpool kept Carroll.

We'll see who, if anyone, Liverpool purchase with the added money, but the club will save all of approximately £3.2m (40 weeks at £80k/week), plus a rumored £1m loan fee. That's not much added to the piggy bank, as Rodgers admittedly earlier today.

Even if Rodgers has determined he has no use for Carroll, it's depressing. Carroll's 23. Liverpool paid an enormous, club record amount to sign him. And Rodgers won't even give him the chance to prove himself? That's an indescribable condemnation of Carroll as a player and Liverpool's spending under Comolli and Dalglish. And I truly hope it doesn't bite Liverpool in the ass. Carroll has more than enough time left in his career to prove Liverpool wrong, and now that much more motivation to do so.

Maybe he'll thrive at West Ham, and return to Liverpool a conquering hero and better player, with a role to play next season. Admittedly, not bloody likely. But maybe he'll thrive at West Ham and Liverpool will actually be able to sell him for a reasonable fee. That's the hope, and a distinct possibility. Or maybe he'll fail, West Ham will be relegated, and it'll be that much harder to find someone to take him off Liverpool's hands. That's a frightening prospect, but not as frightening as the concern that Liverpool will actually miss his few-and-far-between goals. But we'll get to that.

Adam departs for similar reasons, on a smaller scale, and permanently, transferred to Stoke for an undisclosed fee, most likely somewhere around £4-5m. Another of last season's scapegoats – right or wrong, right and wrong – another who didn't fit with Rodgers' future. I'm less sorry to see him depart, mostly because Liverpool should have more than enough in midfield to cope thanks to the Allen and Şahin additions. I'm still sorry he got more criticism and less credit than he deserved, but mostly I'm just relieved I won't have to tortuously defend his flaws any more. Can't help but wish Charlie luck, no matter how much I detest Stoke, because he should fit very well in that squad. And will probably punish Liverpool when Liverpool face the Potters this season because that's what happens.

Adam (and Spearing) aside, I still can't help worrying about squad depth. Maybe there will be a late purchase to ease concerns, but eight players have departed – Carroll, Adam, Spearing, Bellamy, Kuyt, Maxi, and Aurelio (even if Aquilani barely merits mentioning) – and four have come in, one only on loan for a season: Allen, Assaidi, Borini, and Şahin. It seems Sterling has a large role to play this season, so maybe we should call it five. More specifically, Liverpool have gotten rid of four forwards – Carroll, Kuyt, Bellamy, and Maxi – who played 8593 minutes and made 149 appearances combined, and scored 29 of Liverpool's 79 goals last season. If you add Adam's stats to those four, they contributed 39% of Liverpool's goals last season (31 of 79) and 39% of Liverpool's assists (22 of 56).

Scoring goals have been an issue, the issue, since the beginning of last season. And now, Suarez, Borini, and Morgan are Liverpool's only central strikers. Eccleston does not count. Eccleston will never count. Adam Morgan made his senior debut yesterday. Liverpool signed 18-year-old prospect Samed Yesil yesterday as well, who's just a month younger than Morgan, but his first interview for the official site suggests that he's a ways away from first team action, making just one late substitute appearance for Leverkusen last season. He'll almost assuredly spend the season with the u-21s. It's no surprise that Liverpool are currently scrambling around like a last-minute Christmas Eve shopper trying to buy a forward. We'll find out if it comes to fruition within nine or so hours.

As much as I regret Carroll's loan, it's the manager's decision, and an identifiably new era. And the manager's clearly decided Carroll has no role to play in it. Carroll and Adam were two of Comolli and Dalglish's marquee signings. I doubt Liverpool are consciously ridding themselves of the last regime, but you can't help but wonder, especially with yesterday's mooted Henderson for Dempsey swap deal – a deal with makes less than zero sense and is hopefully massively incorrect. The new regime's regime's strategy is simply far, far different than the last one. Which is probably the point.

Do you trust Brendan Rodgers? FSG sure seems to.


Ryan said...

Agree with you on Carroll. It doesn't seem that there is a good option here. I wanted him to succeed last year. But it wasn't just Carroll struggling, it seemed everyone around him changed their game when he came on. Kuyt quit looking to goal and only wanted to loft high crosses into the box. Even though he came on towards the end of last year, it was never clear that AC and Suarez could co-exist.

Loaning him out and not getting sufficient money to replace him is scary. Morgan is not ready, even as much as Rodgers loves his attitude.

I know Rodgers system can be played without a traditional #9, but it is still hard to see where goals will come from in this team.

Anonymous said...

I KNEW NASTY NATE was in LOVE with Carroll!

Carroll was a waste, let it go Nate, Let It GO!

Vercingetora said...

Downing did a nice job bombing forward and putting in crosses yesterday. Pity there's no one now to put their head onto them.

Ryan said...

A Left Back bombing forward putting crosses into the box is not exactly Rodgers preferred posession based tactics.

Anonymous said...

I for one am left feeling that Rodgers' is as you said consciously ridding himself of the last regime's acquisitions. Yesterday it had been reported that Henderson (the last of the prior regime) was offered (is some capacity) in a possible Dempsey deal, which if true would support this hypothesis.

Also one can't help but notice that Carroll, Adam and Hendo have been given next to no first team action, which in Carroll's case is quite odd given our limited resources up front. Anyway my guess is that Carroll will score more premier goals than any Liverpool player and should Rodgers have a poor year he could in effect be responsible for the dismissal of two managers for opposite reasons.


Anonymous said...

Fire Rodgers! He opulent pay 6mil for the 4th best goals corer in EPL when we need goalscorers!?

Balfy said...

Blessing in disguise. Gerrard forced to be attacking from the right, Borini central and Suarez on the left. Gerrard can cover in the midfield if necessary but it will help him find his scoring boots again before its too late. He will be a revelation in the position Rafa had for him, it is an idea hampered by the Lucas injury but with Sahin here for the season it is now possible. I think alternating Shelvey or Henderson to partner with Sahin in the centre, Allen playing deep and having Downing and Johnson as Wingbacks, we will be surprisingly good. Optimism is a good thing, lets take it too Arsenal and surprise them with our array of super subs, Assaidi, Yesil or Sterling.

BjornHof said...

How can FSG not back Rodgers in the transfer market yesterday. When it is obvious that he must have had guarantees that he could bring 1-2 players in after releasing Adam, Spearing and Carroll.

They totally let him down and now he has a super thin squad to work with, a lot of youngsters and almost no proven forwards.

Shame on FSG for their lack of support.
They should go public saying they were the ones not giving Rodgers any players and take full responsibility for the lack of depth in the squad.

Anonymous said...

When a guy with a name like Bjorn is in despair over our club, you know it's bad!