Andy Carroll is in stark decline at Liverpool: Premier League review
Alex Sharp looks back at another weekend of Premier League action, in which Andy Carroll failed to deliver once again
It was the moment he feared but the moment he probably expected. Andy Carroll was hauled off against his former employees after another dismal afternoon in a Liverpool jersey.
Returning to a former club has always been difficult but having been booked for simulation and failing to replicate any of his former glory emphasises the stark decline of Carroll since his £35m move to Anfield.
A predictable chorus of boos was directed at him at the Sports Direct Arena on Sunday – his dive was an embarrassment to the game and should be punished retrospectively.
Diving has always been a problem, particularly on the continent. But in the past 5-10 years it’s incrementally started to affect our game, with more simulation in the league ruining the integrity of the beautiful game.
The dive by Carroll illustrates his state of mind. If he had continued he would have had an open goal to score and silence his doubters. Instead, the 23-year-old decided to flop to the floor.
A year ago he played in a friendly for England against Ghana, looked to be a viable alternate option for height and appeared set to thrive at a club aspiring to secure Champions League football.
Since then, he has only scored five in 35 appearances for Liverpool, with cup goals against Brighton, Exeter and Oldham flattering his total. He has been dire – there is absolutely no other way of looking at it.
Strikers such as Robin van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor and Wayne Rooney crave the ball, glide into space, burst a blood vessel to reach a cross. Carroll, on the other hand, is jogging around hoping to be found.
There was a moment on Sunday when was Carroll 20 yards out, not even running to join the action when a rare Liverpool attack broke into Newcastle’s box. That lack of determination or presence is inexcusable.
Was he overpriced? Of course, but he isn’t to blame for poor transfer dealings by Liverpool, who overspent on average acquisitions such as Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing.
Also, in Carroll’s defence, he was often given pinpoint service by Joey Barton at Newcastle and now feeds off scraps as no one seems to be able to cross at Liverpool.
Steven Gerrard has been out with injuries for a majority of the season but even with his superb deliveries, Carroll isn’t getting the service his height demands.
From one big money flop to another, Fernando Torres is showing the slightest shoots of recovery – well, it is Spring after all.
Torres fired in a late goal at Villa on Saturday to confirm the three vital points for Chelsea and notched up his first league goal in 1,035 minutes.
For his quality, that is astonishing and perhaps his trickle of goals recently can lead to a new lease of life for the troubled Spaniard.
Torres is by no means out of the woods and needs a handful more goals until May to confirm his Chelsea place next season – that’s assuming the understanding Roman Abramovich hasn’t lost patience with him
At least Torres is showing will, some fight and his confidence will steadily build up. Carroll needs to follow suit and pick up performances fast.
Euro 2012 is well beyond him but goals and grit are needed to prove he can carry on at Anfield next campaign.