Andy Carroll showed what a quality player he can be in Saturday’s excellent 2-1 FA Cup win over Manchester United. Throughout the game he worked diligently upfront winning balls in the air, keeping control and intelligently laying off passes to his oncoming team mates. His impressive display culminated in a flicked header, just 2 minutes from the end of normal time, into the path of the advancing Dirk Kuyt. Kuyt, who had been on the field for 25 minutes, did well to latch onto the ball, beating Evra in the process, take it into the right-side of the box before smashing home the winner in front of an ecstatic Kop.
Due to Carroll’s continued hard work, Kuyt was gifted a second golden opportunity to make it 3-1. Carroll rose to meet a far-post cross only to see his header smack back off the upright into the path of the on-rushing Kuyt who, from 6 yards, chose to use his right foot and mishit his shot wide when his left would have surely ended in a 3rd goal. However, 2-1 was enough to seal the match and see Liverpool through to the 5th round via a famous victory over our deadliest rivals. It was also the conclusion of one of Carroll’s most effective games in a red shirt even though he didn’t score.
As Steven Gerrard pointed out after the match:
“Andy Carroll’s a good player. If it wasn’t for him today maybe we wouldn’t be in the draw tomorrow – he made a massive contribution today.”
It’s exactly the kind of confidence builder Carroll needs for him to push on and kick-start his Liverpool career which, as we all know, hasn’t materialized since his move from Newcastle a year ago. However, Carroll has improved in the last few games. He appears sharper, quicker and his ball control much improved. However, the key part of his game he needs to focus on is his goal scoring. That’s what he was bought for and that’s what he needs to start doing on a consistent basis. Granted he has been unlucky having hit the woodwork umpteen times, which cannot have helped his confidence, but Dalglish will have to accept that Carroll may not be good enough if progress doesn’t happen by the end of this season.
Football writers and pundits alike have been questioning Dalglish’s commitment to Carroll and have suggested it may be time to off-loaded him, albeit at a significant financial loss, but I don’t think we’re there just yet. If Carroll can use this display against Manchester United as a benchmark for future performances and begin to find his scoring boots then maybe, just maybe we’ll have the striker we were all hoping for.
Barry also writes his own blog liverpoolfc-talk
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