Carroll will fight for starting spot as Liverpool refute Tevez swap rumours
Fighter: Andy Carroll wants to stick it out at Anfield
Andy Carroll is ready to fight to save his Liverpool career after the Anfield club emphatically dismissed stories they wanted to swap him for Carlos Tevez.
As questions continue to hang over the England striker’s suitability for Kenny Dalglish’s team, sources in Manchester revealed a deal was mooted which would have seen Carroll and Tevez switch clubs, but Liverpool said the stories were ‘fundamentally and completely untrue’.
Though Liverpool may be forced to consider their options should they receive a substantial offer for a player they paid 35million for 12 months ago, a deal for Tevez would be difficult because of the Argentine’s 225,000 weekly wage at Manchester City.
Things have not been easy for Carroll since he joined Liverpool. There have been questions about his lifestyle and a return of six goals in 35 appearances was not what was envisaged when he became the eighth most expensive footballer in history.
He has also been linked with a return to Newcastle in the past month but there were glimpses during Saturday’s 2-1 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round that he is finally starting to adjust.
Carroll, whose flick-on created the opening for Dirk Kuyt to settle the tie, is determined to make a success of his stay on Merseyside and hopes his encouraging performance against United is a sign of things to come.
‘I’m (only) just here,’ said Liverpool’s No 9. ‘I’ve signed a contract here and this is the team I’m playing for. I think I’m just getting into my stride now.
Tough: At his best he is hard to handle
‘Everyone is getting used to how I play and I’m getting used to everyone else but everyone is helping me. I am settled and I love it here.’
Asked if there had been a day when he had regretted the move from St James’ Park, he replied: ‘No, not at all. The club have been great with me and I’m enjoying it here.’
Carroll, 23, certainly earned praise for his efforts. Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish enthused that ‘the big ’un had done well’, while Kuyt — who said his goal felt better than the hat-trick he scored against United last March — was even more effusive.
‘Andy played a great game,’ said Kuyt. ‘I know how difficult it is to be alone up front but he battled so hard. He was important for us for both of the goals. The header for my goal was something I told him. I said, “Win it and flick it on”, and he did it perfectly.’
Settled: Carroll claims he is fine in Liverpool
Liverpool’s victory left Sir Alex Ferguson flabbergasted and United’s manager suggested he could not see how his side would lose after Park Ji-sung had cancelled out Daniel Agger’s header, but they failed to deal with the home side cranking up the tempo in the last 10 minutes.
Carroll, in particular, thrived in the final quarter. At times he looked isolated early on but once he had substitutes Kuyt and Craig Bellamy running alongside him, he was a different proposition.
With better fortune, he would have had a goal to celebrate but his last-minute header rattled the crossbar. Still, the assist was enough and if the last seven days have been significant for Liverpool, the same could yet be said for Carroll.
‘It was nice to get an assist but it doesn’t really matter who sets them up or who scores them,’ said Carroll.
‘I thought I did well but now I’ve just got to keep on going and keep working on it and then it will come.’