Most Liverpool fans agree the coming summer will be our most important since, well, the last one.
The break between seasons will be a test of many things and many people at the club, from owners to management to playing staff.
It’s inconceivable that there will not be departures, and it’s very hard to make presumptions about who will remain both on and off the pitch when the 2012/13 season kicks off.
Let’s presume, though, that both Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli remain in their current posts.
Much of the focus will be on Comolli, given his remit is (as far as we can tell) to supervise player recruitment.
He should certainly be a busy man. If some of the stories leaking out of the club are to be believed, finding new homes for some of the higher earners not getting a regular game will be a priority.
It’s to be hoped that the money recouped through this further trimming of the wage bill will be put to good use luring some of the European megastars who were apparently prompted by the Carling Cup win into buying up the remaining stock of LFC foam hands and anxiously scanning Venmores’ website for a purple-binned pied a terre.
Many fans are ideologically opposed to the concept of a director of football, but there is merit in the idea of having a figure more committed to the long term, with greater job security than a manager whose tenure at the club can be ended by a string of bad results.
Leaving recruitment decisions solely to managers risks the likes of Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen, short-term ‘solutions’ which solve nothing at at all, being brought in with no prospect of the club achieving any kind of return on their resale value.
Of course not every manager would make such ruinous decisions as those. That takes a special talent. But the point stands that allowing a manager to bring in a raft of players chosen by him and him alone can often leave clubs with a squad as unsaleable as it is uneven.
But the role of director of football should be as much about retaining players as bringing them to Liverpool in the first place. It’s surely inevitable that Comolli and Dalglish will have differing views on which of their signings so far should remain at Anfield and which should be sent back to Blackpo…er, moved on to pastures new.
Which brings us to Andy Carroll.
As an outside observer, it’s hard to escape the impression that Dalglish doesn’t see the number 9 as a viable proposition. Attempts to integrate him have been at best half-hearted, and every run of promising form has been followed by a return to the bench.
If Carroll is not a key man for Dalglish, that’s fine. In many ways it should be expected at this stage of his development. The specific role he can fill is far more technical than most appreciate, and the vast majority of similar strikers don’t develop the know-how required to do it week-in, week-out until much later in their careers.
A 27-year-old Andy Carroll should, with the right coaching and experience, be a vastly different proposition to the 23-year-old we have at the moment.
That’s not to say there hasn’t been improvement even in the time he’s been at Anfield.
Tidy, assured performances have multiplied in recent months, even as the team’s overall form has disintegrated. Carroll has been involved in several of the (very few) things that have gone right for Liverpool since the turn of the year.
Even at Newcastle, where his tumble in the penalty area drew derision, his all-round play was far more accomplished than it had been previously.
His performance against Blackburn offered glimpses of what he could offer as he develops. On this occasion the goal, although hugely welcome and brilliantly taken, is only half the story. His awareness of Maxi and Bellamy’s positioning around him reflected his ability to work with more technical players.
His early work with Shelvey demonstrated what the latter can bring in the long term. For perhaps the first time it was clear to see how Carroll can offer solutions as well as problems.
Most importantly, for nearly three quarters of the game he operated in increasing isolation and carried the burden both willingly and well.
And yet there would be no surprises if this potentially huge asset to Liverpool Football Club were to leave in the summer. Either because the management want him out or because he wants to be a more central figure somewhere else, the chances of Carroll being around after the summer window shuts must be no greater than 50:50.
This, then, could be Comolli’s acid test. Selling a striker at a huge loss in the interests of appeasing either player or manager should be exactly the sort of situation a director of football should be able to prevent.
It brings to mind Shankly’s words to Tommy Smith: “It’s not your leg son, it’s Liverpool’s leg.” Andy Carroll is Liverpool’s player, and a potentially valuable one. To push him out this year would be calamitous in a financial, if not a footballing sense.
Comolli may be planning to expend his diplomatic skills on persuading Eden Hazard and Yann M’Vila to join the club, but at least as much of his energy should be spent on convincing both Carroll and Dalglish that a break-up would be in nobody’s best interests.
Carroll 50/50 duels stat from EPL index: lone frontman for 70 mins, won 23/28 duels – 9/10 air & 14/18 ground.
At last some has said it. A tidy piece. Carroll is young and as pointed out will flourish in the coming years. He is similar to Alan Shearer who scores 3 in 26 then 4 in 36 in his first two full seasons – though he was younger it took him until around 25-28 years of age to really do well.
Also it seems that every time Carroll is on the pitch (barring the Toon) we either win or draw. This can only be due to him creating space for the others to play in (as he certainly isn’t scoring the goals to help us win last night aside).
In short give him time, and he SHOULD come good.
Potential is such a dangerous word. Yes potentially he will be a better player, but potential can only be fulfilled in a conducive environment. Should the manager not have faith in the player, his potential may well be limitless but ultimately unfulfilled.
The DoF while also charged with recruitment should also have a vision of how the club will play, in terms of football philosophy, in the general sense. So his remit should also be to identify players that fit that idea. Would AC fit in any LFC philosophy?
He looks potentially like a decent centre forward, nothing exceptional about him.
Completely agree. This summer will be a huge test for Comolli. And he needs to get it right, the club needs him to get it right whether it is keeping, buying or selling players. As far as Andy is concerned… He is finally starting to show glimpses of why we paid so much money for him but I fear a decision has already been made on his future. I hope he stays because the talent is hidden in that ponytail somewhere!
I for one certainly do not want to see him go.
I have followed his career closely (toon reserves & 1st team) and he will develop into a superb player. Time is one thing he needs (and not much more required) but I am not sure how much he will get. Selling is foolhardy when he has not had a run of games to build confidence, fitness and awareness with the team
Saying that I have 2 things that puzzle me. 1) He has played in most of our big games so it is strange that he does not get a run when he gets the selection for crucial fixtures. 2) He rarely plays with Downing when clearly he was a part of the jigsaw for supplying AC.
I was pleased to see the reaction from the team last night when he scored (although I am not sure how much of that related to scoring the winner) and I will be delighted if he starts against the Bitters.
I think we need to learn a lesson from the way Lucas was treated by 90% of our fans. AC was a direct target man at NUFC and that just won’t happen here. The boy will come good, mark my words!
Good read again steve. i think there is more than enough evidence to suggest that carroll is getting it right for us, not least that we tend to get more points from games he plays in than games he doesn’t. i thought he was excellent in lasts night game and his goal was well taken. he would probably have hit the bar earlier in the season. like you though i cant make up my mind whether he will be here next season. if a bid of anywhere near £20m comes in i think it may be adios. kenny clearly has doubts about him, why else would he select him so infrequently.
Selling Carroll now would be the equivalent of a distressed asset sale. You’d only get a bargain basement price.
Prices of forwards, especially young ones, are fickle. A run of 8 goals in 10 games and he’ll be the ‘world’s greatest striker’and his price will shoot up.
If the strategy is to sell then the tactic should to be hold onto him…for a while at least.
Selling Carroll with a huge loss is not a good option from either perspective.
He hasn’t quite yet manage to set the world alight with his performances, but you can tell, he’s been trying and working hard lately. I for one would like to see him stay and succeed, and prove the critics wrong. Thet will require a proper coaching, managing and playing to his strengths.
If the club sells him in the summer, it will:
a) display yet another poor decision making;
b) make us a laughing stock once again (because, let’s face it, we won’t get more than £6m for him);
c) ruin the player psychologically, and possibly his further career;
That being said, he is not the only one whose strengths are not being properly utilised. And I am not only talking about the CHAD, but also about Suarez and Maxi Rodriguez, for example. Also, Gerrard, which is another very important issue.
Sometimes it looks like everything is being done to prevent them playing well and getting the results… as crazy as it may sound.
While I’m happy to back the call not to knee-jerk, I don’t think Carroll is the player for us. I don’t think he will ever adapt fully to the style we aspire to – he’s just not that type of player.
In addition, I don’t feel he has the will or the stomach for the effort required, on and off the pitch – though that same accusation might also be pointed at other players also.
But the first of my two main bug-bears is unwillingness to sprint. He can do it – he might not be the fastest, but he can sprint. But he rarely does. In fact, the amount of time he is standing still is alarming. It really annoys me that I’ve seen him do well to receive a ball, lay it off to a midfielder, advancing around or past him, and then stop and look at what happens next. He should be racing forward to be the to get the ball back. If nothing else, he needs to occupy the thoughts of 1 or 2 defenders, even if he doesn’t touch the ball again.
And finally, his control his poor and he really struggles with even the shortest passes. Getting the ball and either taking too many touches to control it or passing it 2 yards behind the advancing midfielder frequently takes the sting out of our already ponderous attack.
However, it is academic – unless we are going to give him away, we’ll need to put him back in the shop window, and if we must do that, we might has well persist in trying to improve him.
Three years ago, I was wrong about Lucas Leiva. Perhaps I am wrong again. But I’d be less concerned if he wasn’t our only out-and-out striker.
I think it’s a given we all wNt him to succeed.Will he get that chance?that’s another question.I don’t want to see him go.I wanted him as soon as I seen him.I thought he could be a massive player for us.I have had my doubts since.I would say Kenny’s sparse selection of him points to him being more a Comolli signing.A manager doesn’t pay that money to put his player on the bench.I feel he would play him into form.Is it his ex agent Peter Harrison who tweeted me telling me he’s off to the Irons?Pinch of salt…I personally hope it is.
He needs to be given at least another season. When he’s played he’s often been left to do alot of the dirty forward work which has left him with no space or time himself on the ball to “showcase” what he can do but this has in turn left space for other players. It’s no coincidence that this season for all the games he’s started we’ve only lost 2 of them. A team and system can quite feasibly be built around him, especially with the likes of Henderson and Shelvey, 2 obviously talented young players, trying to make themselves known in the game and desperate to impress. Given the right patience, and the odd signing in the right places, this team could be whatever they want to be.
Good read and some going points. Kenny’s handling of Andy this season has been confusing to say the least.
I wrote a piece back in December making a similar point about Carroll. Have a look if you like.
Dalglish didn’t ok the signing of a 35 mill player and he was signed purely by Commoli ??? I hope you’re joking !
Great piece on Carroll, on Comolli though considering his opening offer for Henderson of £14m was £6m more than Sunderland were prepared to sell him for it doesnt fill me with hope that we’ll be getting good value.
“Let’s presume, though, that both Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli remain in their current posts”
“Comolli may be planning to expend his diplomatic skills on persuading Eden Hazard and Yann M’Vila to join the club, but at least as much of his energy should be spent on convincing both Carroll and Dalglish that a break-up would be in nobody’s best interests.”
I wonder in who’s best interest the break-up announced today is in?
As mentioned in the podcast earlier this week, maybe having a Director of Football, as opposed to a technical or sporting director was the mistake.
So maybe Comolli will be having a quieter summer than we all thought!!