Liverpool are a much more effective team with Andy Carroll than they are without him. That is not an opinion, it is a fact. For proof, take a look at the following chart, showing our results when he does and doesn't start:
|Liverpool Performances With and Without Carroll Starting|
With Carroll starting, Liverpool’s record is W13 D4 L4 – a 62% win percentage. When he hasn’t started, it drops to W8, D6, L7 – a 38% win percentage.
This is not a coincidence. The work he does off the ball, dragging defenders out of position and generally being a nuisance, creates the space for the likes of Suarez and Gerrard to exploit. In the 3-0 win against Everton, he was a constant menace, jumping for just about every ball that went up in the air and not allowing either of the central defenders any time to settle.
In their first start together, Suarez, Carroll and Gerrard showed that together they could offer Liverpool a formidable attacking threat. It is therefore very surprising that Carroll has not started a game in the league since. Less surprising, given the stats above, is the fact that we lost the subsequent games without him.
So, if it is not his performances on the pitch that are getting him dropped, what is it?
Carroll has yet to start more than four consecutive games for Liverpool. For a young player trying to find his way into a new team, these stuttering appearances cannot be helping his development as a player. When you consider that he is getting dropped even when he plays very well, it is bound to also be affecting his mentality.
He has had well publicised off the field issues since he started his career. It could well be, therefore, that there are things happening off the field that are stopping Kenny from giving him a good run of games on it.
I would be interested to know your views on why Carroll isn’t a regular starter, because it is a mystery to me.
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