It’s a story that Liverpool have experienced a couple of times this season. Jonjo Shelvey scored and got an assist on his first appearance against us after we sold him to Swansea, while Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch both scored against us in our 5-3 win at the Britannia back in January.
I’m writing about this because we travel to West Ham this weekend, who have an abundance of former Liverpool players in their squad: Joe Cole, that “marquee signing” made by Roy Hodgson who frequently struggled to justify his astronomical wages; Stewart Downing, the £20m man who became the butt of every football fans’ jokes as he failed to register a single league goal or assist in his debut season, although he improved in his second season; Andy Carroll, the infamous waste of £35m who rarely played due to injury and was shifted on by Rodgers in his first transfer window.
Joe Cole doesn’t worry me too much – and truth be told, Downing hasn’t exactly been giving me sleepless nights either – but Andy Carroll makes me paranoid. Of course Downing has a point to prove, but Andy Carroll will be on a mission to prove to Liverpool that they were wrong to let him go. For such a high profile record signing to fail so drastically and then be moved on after his first full season, Carroll will feel incredibly hard done by and will do everything in his power to ruin our season, aided by Downing who will undoubtedly be floating the crosses in for him.
We’ve had our fair share of wins at Upton Park over the years, but it hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground for us. I still remember the year that Scott Parker scored the winner against us a few years ago when West Ham pulled off a shock win against us. It would be typical if Andy Carroll was the man to dent our title hopes as we come closest to winning in decades.
Brendan Rodgers and his team have proved adept at overcoming multiple challenges in 2014, each differing in difficulty and situation. In order to avoid the ghost of transfers past and win on Sunday, they must beat West Ham. Andy Carroll must not become another Jonjo Shelvey.