The fact Andy Carroll is still Liverpool’s record transfer makes us feel a little uneasy, in truth, but his failure at Anfield is not entirely his fault.
He was purchased (at a cool £35m…) for his strength and aerial ability aged just 22, but our style and preference to play to feet, or in behind, limited the powerhouse, as did injuries.
Brendan Rodgers never fancied him and sent him to West Ham on loan before selling him permanently; and the likeable Englishman is still in East London – although again injuries have stunted his development.
Interestingly, Carroll has named Liverpool’s Brazilian anchorman/centre-back Lucas Leiva as his joint hardest ever opponent!
“Gary Cahill,” Carroll began telling Jamie Redknapp in a Daily Mail interview when asked, before moving onto our longest serving player.
“Timing, reading, good leap, very good. And Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva. Oh my God. He played centre half against us. I don’t know what it was. Every time I went for the ball he gave me a little nudge, the referee was never going to give a foul and I never wanted a foul, but he did me every time. Just judging me so well and knocking me off balance. I couldn’t play against him.”
If anything, this shows how brilliantly Lucas adapted to English football. In his homeland, Lucas was an attacking midfielder for Gremio, but while in England, he’s become increasingly more defensive over his decade tenure.
The 30-year-old struggles for game-time now, but under Kenny Dalgslish in 2010/11, he was a truly exceptional holding midfielder. Few Premier League players rack up the tackles/assists Lucas does – and that’s before mentioning his contribution in the dressing room.
The fact he’s been trusted by Rafa Benitez, Roy Hodgson, Dalglish, Brendan Rodgers and at times Klopp proves there’s more to the South American than the armchair fan perhaps sees.
Just ask Carroll!