Andy Carroll faces Brendan Rodgers axe as Liverpool change shape
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Andy Carroll is battling to save his Liverpool career less than 18 months after becoming the ninth-most expensive player in football history.
Brendan Rodgers, the new Liverpool manager, said yesterday that he needs to be convinced about the England forward’s suitability to his preferred playing style after setting up a move for a potential replacement.
Presented with the opportunity to confirm that Carroll is in his plans for next season, Rodgers was non-committal at best, stressing the need for the 23-year-old striker to prove himself capable of adapting to the 4-3-3 formation that Rodgers is looking to implement before providing any guarantees.
Perhaps even more tellingly, Rodgers’s interest in Fabio Borini has intensified over the past 24 hours, with a potential £11 million move being lined up for the Roma forward.
Having signed Borini on loan at Swansea City and worked with him at Chelsea, Rodgers has no such doubts about the 21-year-old’s ability to work within his preferred tactical framework and is hoping to push the proposed transfer through in the next 48 hours.
Liverpool have not made Carroll available for transfer, but there is a growing feeling within the club’s hierarchy that the time could be right to cut their losses 18 months after he was signed from Newcastle United for a club-record fee of £35 million.
Carroll has been linked with a loan move to AC Milan, but Liverpool have not received any approach from the Italian club, nor would they be willing to allow their record signing to depart on a temporary basis.
“Andy’s always going to be linked with clubs, whether he was here or not,” Rodgers said. “I have spoken to him on his holidays, he knows exactly where he stands, but I have had no inquiries about him.
“Andy’s a player I want to assess and speak with. We’ve already had a good chat on where we’re at. There have been many inquiries about our players, so I will assess them and hopefully put together a group of players to help us challenge.
“He’s no different to any player we have here. They might have all the attributes but not the mentality to play. It’s a wee bit unfair for Andy to get labelled any other way. He’s a good kid, a good lad, so we will just see how the formation of the group shapes up over the next four or five weeks.
“My task is to build a group that can challenge. Hopefully when the bus leaves at the end of pre-season, it will have the people on it who I want.”
Rodgers was at pains to stress his belief that Carroll is a quality player, but his continual references to the need to conform to a particular tactical set-up served to reinforce the growing feeling that the Liverpool manager remains to be convinced of his ability to function in a high-tempo front three.
“His strengths are quite clear to me,” Rodgers added. “The goal he scored for England [against Sweden] in the Euros typifies his strengths.
“He’s a very good player. He’s shown that in his short career already. Time will tell for him and all the players whether they are in my plans, but my job is to assess that and take it from there.”
What do you guys make of this? It seems to me that Rodgers doesn't see Andy Carroll in his plans, and will likely look to sell him. I know he doesn't directly say that, just reading between the lines. FWIW, I think Andy Carroll should be given a chance to prove himself in the new system. He made a lot of strides towards the end of last season and hopefully can build on that. Maybe this is Rodgers' way of lighting a fire under Andy Carroll's ass to get him to earn a place on the team? Maybe I'm reading too much into this ...