Since Brendan Rodgers arrived at Anfield, he’s done almost everything right.
Recognize the history of the club, conduct sensible and well-spoken press conferences, appeal to the players and fans.
Amidst rumors linking Liverpool’s record signing Andy Carroll with a loan move away from Anfield, Brendan Rodgers has also failed to confirm his No. 9’s future at the club.
As West Ham confirm their interest in taking Carroll on loan for the season (via ESPNSoccernet), here are six reasons Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers would be absurd to let Andy Carroll leave on loan—and feel free to have your say below.
1. He’s on a High
The first reason is almost blindingly obvious: Andy Carroll is in a good run of form.
He ended the English Premier League season with a consistent run in the Liverpool first team, and turned in improving performances as the spearhead of Kenny Dalglish’s attack.
His domination over John Terry and Co. in two matches against Chelsea will serve as stark reminders of the aerial ability he brings to the table.
This form was replicated with a few more encouraging displays with Roy Hodgson’s England in this summer’s European Championships, and his goal against Sweden was a classic England center forward’s header.
With a new manager coming in and Carroll’s personal desire to prove himself as a Liverpool player, Liverpool should see an ambitious young striker return to training in a few weeks’ time.
2. Fan Backlash
Because of this encouraging upturn in form for both club and country, Carroll’s place in the hearts of Liverpool fans has risen considerably.
For a fanbase still smarting from Fernando Torres’ exit a year and a half ago, and for a club still looking for a fearsome striker, Carroll represents, to some extent, a possible striking hero in the making.
The potential to see Steven Gerrard start alongside Carroll and Luis Suarez will also be one that fans are looking forward to.
To strip this hope away before a ball is even kicked doesn’t seem too sensible.
Brendan Rodgers will do well to take note that the Kop’s say in the proceedings is usually quite large.
3. Who’s the Replacement?
Liverpool’s well-known Achilles’ heel from the 2011-2012 season was their inability to finish their chances.
In a fluid passing system with a striker capable of scoring and setting up chances aplenty for his teammates, Carroll might offer a clear solution to the Reds’ conundrums.
And if he leaves?
Luis Suarez, while a world-class creative forward on his day, doesn’t finish like a predatory striker can.
And the likes of Clint Dempsey and Fabio Borini—who have been linked with moves to Anfield in recent weeks (via the Daily Mirror and BBC Sport)—while they possess encouraging goal-scoring records, are not one-stop solutions to Liverpool’s goal worries.
4. Every Good Team Needs a Plan B
In Rodgers’ ideal 4-3-3 formation, Liverpool would field players capable of ball retention, control and movement on the pitch to dominate possession of the ball.
The idea is that, just like Swansea last season and aspiring to Spain this summer, there is no need to field a physical striker when technique and passing is all that is needed to win.
All of which sounds well and good, but this is a Liverpool that needs time for Rodgers’ tactics and ideas to work across the board.
When the pundits called for the addition (from the start or from the bench) of a striker and wingers to Spain’s 4-6-0 formation in the Euros, they had “Plan B” in their minds.
If all-conquering Spain, with their footballing philosophy permeating through their national setup, need a Plan B, Liverpool would most definitely need one in Rodgers’ first season.
5. Or a Plan A
And who’s to say that Andy Carroll wouldn’t make a credible option in the starting XI?
While Rodgers has a clear idea of the Spain-inspired system he would like to implement at Liverpool, he has conceded that his formations will be based on the players he has at his disposal.
With a record signing who just happens to be a targetman with some fearsome attributes, Liverpool could have the flexibility to employ a variety of tactical setups.
What about a dual-striker system that requires the midfield to break through and lay on chances (Italy)?
Or a targetman-boasting system that relies on a high-pressure midfield and wingers cutting in (Portugal)?
These are all options that require strengthening in different positions, of course, but nothing that a Rodgers 4-3-3 wouldn’t need anyway.
6. What He Needs Is First-Team Experience at a Top Club
He might get his (and Rodgers’) wishes of extended playing time, but this is not what he needs.
With all due respect to the Hammers and the Cottagers, Carroll got his sustained first-team action during his breakthrough Premier League season playing for a newly promoted Newcastle side.
Carroll needs constant exposure to the pressures that come with being a striker for a club expected to win week in, week out.
Of course, in the (almost) immediate aftermath of the Euros, Andy Carroll was linked to Italian giants AC Milan (via the Daily Mail).
The abundance of forward options present at the San Siro (Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Antonio Cassano, Robinho, Alexandre Pato) should ensure that Carroll wouldn’t be faring that much better in terms of minutes on Italian shores.
When Kenny Dalglish splashed the cash for Andy Carroll—regardless of how much a panic signing it had been following Torres’ desire to leave for Chelsea—he saw a striker who would be central to a pass-and-move philosophy.
A year and a half on, his successor, Brendan Rodgers, is supposedly already considering Carroll’s future in a similar passing-based footballing style.
Andy Carroll, quite simply, should be given the chance to establish himself at Anfield.