Looks like we’ll get our chance to see the presumed ill-fit between Brendan Rodgers’ approach and Andy Carroll’s style. That’s because the new Liverpool manager intends on keeping his inherited striker, potentially putting to rest speculation the 23-year-old England international will play the 2012-13 season away from Anfield.
“There is talk of him going on loan, but there is absolutely no way I would be looking to loan a player like that,” Rodgers said, “especially after the investment the club have paid.”
That last clause is a bit weird, if expected. Once Carroll’s near $55 million fee hit Newcastle’s bank account, it became irrelevant. Whether Carroll was free or a record signing shouldn’t matter, as it concerns on-field decisions (it will always matter to those in the stands and press box). Once dressed in red, the prevailing value is what’s best for the club. If it serves Liverpool to send Carroll out on loan – to put him in a situation conducive to his skills, rather than square peg/round hole him with Rodgers – he should go out on loan.
Whether Carroll truly is a square peg is unknown. It’s generally been assumed Carroll would be a poor fit of a system built on possession, passing, and movement. Carroll, profiling as a traditional (perhaps anachronistic) number nine, seemed sub-optimal, something which may have influenced the Fabio Borini buy.
At this point, however, it’s all speculation. Carroll’s yet to play a real game under Rodgers, and given what Carroll offers, it would be a shame if the new boss abandoned Carroll before testing the fit. What we saw from Carroll versus Sweden at this summer’s European Championships was a player who could play for anybody, even if that role’s limited to a match up-specific, perhaps only late game solution. Despite his generally disappointing tenure at Anfield, Carroll’s also shown Liverpool his virtues, coming on in the second half of the FA Cup final, nearly bringing the Reds back from a two-goal deficit.
Though it may be a fool’s money that wagers Carroll will succeed under Rodgers, stranger things have happened. Were Carroll to come good under Rodgers, this summer’s uncertainty would be a forgetting irrelevancy of the transition from Kenny Dalglish to Rodgers. For Liverpool to let Carroll go before actually seeing how he performs under their new boss would be a piece of unnecessary speculation.
If Carroll doesn’t make an impact before the winter transfer window, Liverpool will still be able to move him. There’s only reason to forgo a five-month try out.