Fantasy Football League IV

Player Analysis – Andy Carroll

£35m well spent or a far too risky gamble?

In what was one of the most well-documented transfer sagas in modern times, Andy Carroll joined Liverpool for £35m from Newcastle United – a record for a British player – on the same day Fernando Torres left Anfield for Chelsea.

Carroll took Torres’ number 9 shirt but, while the performances of fellow new boy Luis Suarez had the Liverpool fans in raptures, the former Toon Army favourite had to cool his heels on the sidelines for a number of weeks due to an a thigh injury picked up while still at Newcastle.

The big hit man finally found his goal-scoring feet as he returned to full fitness, fetching a brace in Liverpool’s impressive 3-0 defeat of Manchester City at Anfield. This was the only game in which he scored for Liverpool in his seven league appearances, however, and the club will be looking for a big improvement next season.

Carroll looks the perfect foil for the outrageous talents of Suarez- little and large, skilful and powerful on the ground and in the air, the pair look set to be one of the most feared strike-partnerships in the upcoming campaign. Much anticipation rests on his shoulders, then, and if Carroll can come close to replicating the 11 goals and 3 assists he returned in 19 games at Newcastle last season, Liverpool can be expected to battle for a top four finish.

Key Factors

Although only finishing two games after January, Carroll showed what he was made of in the first half of last season. His Fantasy League haul was admirable for a striker who was relatively untried in the top flight. Carroll finished the year with 106 points, made up of 13 goals and 6 assists.

Times look good for Liverpool under the reinstated Dalglish. His record has been superior to that of predecessor Roy Hodgson – 35 points in 18 games vs. 25 points in 20. Along with Carroll and the aforementioned Suarez, the likes of Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam have also joined the Liverpool ranks. Their squad is in a much stronger position than this time 12 months ago.

Although they currently boast a large squad, Carroll, if fit, looks a nailed-on starter. The acquisition of Downing, in particular, should increase Carroll’s aerial threat at Liverpool- only Leighton Baines made more crosses in the Premier League last season. With the winger whipping balls in from the left and the creativity of Suarez close by, Carroll could certainly improve on last year’s goal tally.

Liverpool have a fairly kind run of fixtures at Anfield in the opening weeks of the season (SUN BOL WOL MUN NOR SWA), with just the visit of their old foes from Lancashire to cause much concern. With Luis Suarez currently taking a break after his Player of the Tournament performance in the Copa America for Uruguay, Carroll – who will have had a ‘proper’ pre-season in comparison to his strike partner – will feature prominently in these games, with doubts still surrounding Suarez‘s chances of starting the season.

Andy Carroll was bought by Skem Chavs for £16.1m and the Chavs will be hoping for a high return on that investment. Carroll would appear to be the spearhead of Liverpool’s play for next season given the acquisition of wingers that have a tendency to cross the ball and proven set piece takers.

Opta Stats

Goals & Goal Threat

Goals

  • Total Goals:13
  • Right Foot Goals:2
  • Left Foot Goals:5
  • Inside the Box:11
  • Outside the Box:2
  • Headed Goals:6
  • Set Piece Goals:-
  • Penalty Goals:-

Goal Attempts (open play)

  • Total Shots:73
  • On Target:33
  • Set Piece Attempts:1
  • Hit Woodwork:2
  • Blocked Shots:18

Aerial Threat

  • Aerial Duels:267
  • Aerial Duels won:158

Defending

Duels

  • Total Duels:445
  • Duels Won:221

Tackles

  • Total Tackles:14
  • Tackles Won:9

Loose Ball

  • Interceptions:11
  • Recoveries:91
  • Clearances:-
  • Blocks:4

Distribution & Influence

Influence

  • Total Touches:1198
  • Successful Dribbles:12
  • Unsuccessful Dribbles:19

Passing

  • Total Passes:775
  • Total Successful Passes:470
  • Total Unsuccessful Passes:303
  • Key Passes:28

Passing Success

  • Passes in Opposition Half:340
  • Successful Crosses:2
  • Failed Crosses:26
  • Successful Long Passes:15
  • Successful Through-Balls:9
  • Successful Lay-offs:104

Set Piece Involvement

  • Corners Taken:-
  • Successful Corners Into the Box:
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