With the January transfer window fast approaching, and with Andy Carroll still yet to justify his £35m price-tag, some Liverpool fans are pondering whether it mightn’t be such a bad idea to cash in on the Geordie striker if a decent offer comes in.
Having been at the club for nearly a year, and with just four league goals to his name, it’s quite hard to make a case for Carroll having been a successful signing.
But then I started to wonder – due to the injury that he already had when joining the club, and the fact that he hasn’t started some of the matches when he has been fit (including the massive clashes with Manchester United and Chelsea for instance), how much of a chance has he actually been given to prove his worth?
Below is a table of the league minutes played by the signings Liverpool have made since January. Due to some having been at the club longer than others, I have arranged them by ‘average length of appearance’. I have excluded Sebastian Coates, as he has played in just one Premier League game to date.
It’s fascinating to note that Charlie Adam has basically played the same number of minutes as Carroll, yet the Scot has been at the club for half a season less than the 22-year-old striker.
Interestingly, a lot of Reds fans seem to think that Adam is now finally starting to play consistently well throughout games on a regular basis, which is the opposite of what was happening at the start of the season. Is that because he has now had a decent run in the team? To my mind at least, it certainly can’t have harmed.
That idea got me thinking; look at the above table and what do you notice? It appears to me that there’s almost a direct correlation between ‘average length of appearance’ and ‘success of signing to date’.
Of course, the latter of the two is a hugely subjective matter, but if you moved Suárez to top of the table then I reckon most people would largely agree with that order; perhaps that’s a little harsh on Craig Bellamy, but then as the fourth choice striker brought in on a free transfer who has mainly featured in League Cup games, he’s not expected to feature heavily in the league matches.
The problem facing Carroll is that the team is dire need of more goals (with just 17 from their 14 league games so far) and he isn’t scoring freely, so will he be given the time he needs on the pitch in order to develop? But I think he does at least need an extended run in the team before the fans write him off entirely.
I’m prepared to be patient with him for now; the question is though, is Kenny?