Well, all eyes in Liverpool have shifted from the transfer buzz and drama to the current state of affairs. The game against Bolton last weekend, simply put, was a reality check. Yes, the fans can go on about how Carroll just isnai??i??t worth the money even if we get back to the Stone Age, how Henderson and Downing arenai??i??t living up to expectations irrespective of Dalglish defending them day-in day-out in the papers. Charlie Adamai??i??s dip in form is now making its way to the forefront and it wonai??i??t be long before he gets to sit on the hot-seat.

However, do the aforementioned so-called ai???issuesai??? justify the reality check we are talking about? Well, the answer is Yes and No. Yes, because Liverpoolai??i??s least expectation this season is to finish in the top four and get back to Champions League football. Under their current form, this path isnai??i??t really looking like one laid with roses. Clearly, there are some under-performers who are taken to the gallows everyday by the media. Fair enough, one would think. But on the other hand, these issues donai??i??t really go beyond bringing Liverpoolai??i??s Champions League dream alive simply because their arrival, along with the new owners, management and the plans, are here for Liverpoolai??i??s future. Not just the present.

It is easy to play the blame game while swimming in a pool of negativity. Easy to wake up to a bitter victory and rant about it endlessly on social networking sites. But can this behavior be pointed towards a team of Liverpoolai??i??s stature? The word ai???statureai??i?? here is not time-bound. So if you are thinking of defaming the club by going into the whole perch thing again, then you really shouldnai??i??t read further than this.

This article is to remind one and all that Liverpool FC still maintains that level of respect and dignity in the football world amongst other fans, players and managers. Currently, not all its embodiments form a testament to its magnanimity in continued strength, talent and record but every football fan is well aware that there is always a bad phase for every team. It is Liverpoolai??i??s turn to go through it now.

When we say ai???bad phaseai??i??, it doesnai??i??t point to the trophy drought that has plagued the club or the League title that hasnai??i??t made its way to Anfield for a long time now. The yesteryears comprised of a strong squad but the competition was also getting fiercer day by day. It is fair to lose to a worthy competitor; the Liverpool folklore has accepted that about the past. However, the past two seasons have been all about Liverpool, for Liverpool. Before the recent makeover, every entry in the club turned out to be the devil in disguise. Life and love for the club was sucked out to a large extent. It was painful. It was unbearable. However, those bad days ended. Key words here ai??i?? bad days ended.

Without meaning to sound prophetic and with the intention to sound as pragmatic as possible, the point here is that the club is under transition. It isnai??i??t functioning in full swing. Why? Because, evidently, the money brought in by the new owners, the plans laid out to build the club around young talent, the effort to build and spread the fan base to new pastures and listening to the fansai??i?? ahead of every milestone move are all building blocks. They donai??i??t complete the entire structure. The entire structure is complete when everybody has accepted Liverpool, understood what it means to be at this club and don the Liverpool shirt and agrees to take this club forward through best efforts. Right now, each of these blocks, in an independent sense, is a work in progress.

Andy Carroll ai??i?? The Dormant Beast

Assume, for a minute, that the Reds were contesting in the Champions League this season with the current squad but were in the same position when it came to the League as they are now. Would critics open their thesaurus and look for new words to put Carrollai??i??s talent to shame? No, they wouldnai??i??t. At least, not to the extent they are doing so now. It is easy to test this theory if Liverpool qualifies for Europe next season which implies if they finish in the top four this season. There is still some time for that though. Right now, it is Andy Carroll who is supposedly failing the Anfield experiment.

When Fernando Torres left the club, the No.9 shirt was burning all over Merseyside. And that was just the beginning. His Liverpool connection, which once flourished with the red love turned into a world of anarchy, filled with hatred. His move was considered an ignominious act and it started to looked like Liverpool were never going to get over it.

What has changed since then? His form dipped further at Chelsea, his silent, expressionless face is indicative of the stigma he has brought upon at Stamford Bridge. Meanwhile, at Liverpool, El Nino turned into Judas and has now turned into a nobody. Today, Liverpool fans laugh louder than any other sect when he misses a sitter, revel in joy when he loses the ball and show a weird sense of applause filled with contempt when a Liverpool player tackles the ‘traitor’. If all of this is ok, if all of this is acceptable, then why canai??i??t there be a hope for Carroll to turn into a fan favourite in the future and not now?

Letai??i??s keep all the excuses aside for the moment (the ones about him being 23, new to the Premier League, et al.). When a youngster spotted for his talent is brought to a big club, his first step is to accept the move himself. He is there for a reason and the management at the club thinks the reason is strong enough for him to add value to the club. It applies for every signing and is no different in the case of Carroll. However, it looks like the equation here is not balanced. His teammates, ex-teammates and managers of other clubs have spoken highly of him but every week his performance lets down someone or the other.

He Can Repay the Faith

His game hasnai??i??t changed since his arrival at the club. He still is a huge package of talent that needs to unwrap. Carroll needs to wake up and accept that he is standing on a bigger stage where success will win hearts but failure will hurt equally bad if not worse. Once he realizes the gravity of his transfer, there is no doubt he will pull the curtains and show his real act. However, in all fairness, it is not easy carrying a 35 million-pound price tag, have fans around the globe breathing down your neck and at the same time, moulding yourself into a player with class and panache. Letai??i??s give him some time. A lot of players with far less promise have been given the time at Merseyside. Time is, his chance.

Stewart Downing ai??i?? Villan Turning Villain?

Before we delve into Stewart Downingai??i??s case further, there is one basic fact that needs to be mentioned: There is always a possibility of finding a better winger for 20 million pounds.

Downing has been on the radar of several Premier League clubs ever since his Middlesbrough days. His move to Liverpool is just his second jump in eight years (ignoring his brief loan stint at Sunderland in 2003). Out of this, he has spent six years at Middlesbrough. Now, there are two key takeaways here:

1) He has the talent to shine; which is why he was picked by the Smoggies’ scouts in the first place.

2) He takes time to blend in and fit into a clubai??i??s style; which is what happened at the Riverside.

Both these facts could have been accepted as valid as of today if he was in his early twenties. But now, at an age of 27 (edging closer to 28), it seems like these two sides of his game are manifesting in reality again. It is quite hard to be a youngster without promise when you arenai??i??t a youngster anymore. 27 is more of a fragile age, a transitioning phase in football where you have learnt the tricks of the trade and know exactly what you are about to do when you are in possession of the ball. Downing is currently drawing a very hazy picture of this phase.

Where Does His Future Lie?

If he continues his current form, he wonai??i??t really have the luxury of time to prove himself. The owners have been particular about bringing in young talent at the club and Downing is the eldest of the new signings featuring in the first team. He was a fantastic player for Aston Villa and this is actually worrying sometimes because one wonders whether he hit his peak at Villa but is now descending at Liverpool. On the contrary, creating 41 chances so far this season (more than any other League player) shows that he still has that gusto in him. If he can connect that gusto with Liverpoolai??i??s game-play, then it wonai??i??t be long before the Kop sings his name.

Jordan Henderson: The Next Who?

ai??i??No, not Gerrard. Hendersonai??i??s case can take help from a completely different person ai??i?? Lucas Leiva. The Brazilian is the finest and best example of how talent can grow with dedication and continued hard work. Everybody knows the importance, or rather the lack of it, that was showered upon Lucas when he arrived from Gremio. His game was all about passing back to the defense, misplacing passes when – on the rarest of occasions – he did pass forward, lack of pace and lifeless tackles. Since 2007, three years passed and Lucas Leivaai??i??s Liverpool career hadn’t taken off till the 2010-11 season.

What everybody fails to remember here is that Lucas, although was written off very early in his Anfield days, continued to build his game quietly. There was no noise, no reports about how he wants to learn from the best and what he wishes to become. He built and developed his own game, the results of which tell an entirely different story today. Lucas made the most tackles and also had the highest conversion rate on these tackles across the four major Leagues in Europe last season. He was leading the pack this season too till he suffered an unfortunate injury. His absence due to this has met with sunken faces and endless ‘get well soon’ messages posted on various forums. Such is his importance today. Who would’ve thought?

Henderson is no different here. We donai??i??t see any argument on whether he is a bad player. All we read is that, for his price, he isnai??i??t bringing much to the table. How true is it? He is a fine player for the England U-21s. He thrives in the center of the park more than the right ai??i?? which has been his frequent occupancy on the pitch this season. His through balls are well timed and well paced. His vision and first-touch is really good for a 21 year-old and he keeps the game moving while on the pitch.

Long Road Ahead

It is not going to be hard to plot Hendersonai??i??s progress. He knows better than anyone else, that in order to impress Capello for a call up, he will have to earn that move. And he can do that only at Liverpool. Henderson is one of many bright stars coming through the ranks for his country and he will be itching to break through to the senior national team as much as the rest of his teammates under Stuart Pearce. He comes in at a time when Gerrardai??i??s career is slowly setting over the horizon, which means Jordan will be stepping into the shoes of one of the finest midfielders in the game. And it doesnai??i??t really look like he isnai??i??t aware of this does it? Give it a thought.

Finallyai??i??A Little Piece of the Cake for Dalglish

When John Henry & co. took over Liverpool before Dalglishai??i??s reign and during Hodgsonai??i??s, they made their intentions clear on the kind of model they want to build at this club. Youth was the mantra and the owners declared their willingness to spend the greens on youth as long as they are convinced about bringing in the right players. Never did John Henry or Tom Werner quote about focusing on British talent. It was only when Dalglish came in that he decided to once again implementing his tried-and-tested technique (also, not to forget, the homegrown player rules) to start the Red Revolution.

So, for all those who go on about how British talent isnai??i??t doing the trick, then take a moment and think about why there is an English influx at this club. England has been producing some quality names on the pitch ai??i?? Jack Wilshere, Josh McEachran, Danny Welbeck, Martin Kelly and the like. Most of the players are currently at big clubs and it is because their talent has been spotted and spotted correctly.

It will take a while to see the extent of the benefits that Dalglishai??i??s choices can produce. Liverpool donai??i??t and do not want to have the luxury of sending youngsters out on loan (like McEachran to Swansea) because they believe the stage is set at Anfield. The show hasn’t begun yet. Keep hope. Dalglish knows.

John Henry recently quoted:

ai???No need to panic, only half a season has gone.ai???

Well, you can choose to look at this in two ways ai??i?? only half a season is left or there is still time for Liverpool to rise to supremacy and for Anfield to become a fortress again.

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6 Responses to “Liverpoolai??i??s Corner: Carroll, Henderson & Why itai??i??s Going to Take Longer than 90 Minutes for Success to Arrive at Anfield”

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  1. Phillip Hays says:

    Totally refreshing, this. I’m sick of all the so-called supporters trashing the club. We need more uplifting and logical articles like this one, and no more of the vitriolic, emotion-driven character assassinating hate pieces that have dominated the news of late. Thank you for stepping up. Well done.

  2. Phillip Hays says:

    Totally refreshing, this. We need more uplifting and logical reporting like this, and less of the vitriolic emotion-driven character-assassinating hate pieces that have dominated the media of late. Thanks for stepping up and broadcasting what TRUE fans have been feeling. Well done, sir…well done.

    • Uday Telkar says:

      Thank you so much Phillip! If Liverpool fans are to be undeterred in a time like this, then we cannot throw dirt on our own club, especially when someone like Dalglish is in charge. It will all work out for the good. There is simply no other way things will turn out. #YNWA

  3. cdz says:

    bullshitz!! load of craps.. they all should be burnt in hell for their sins to liverpool fans all over the universe

  4. Scott Schultz says:

    Carroll is rubbish. I must admit that he’s got hammers in his boots and an anvil in his head but unfortunately the hammers weigh him down and the anvil’s all alone in there. His runs are garbage and his hold up play generally ends with him giving up the ball and all 6′ 3″ of him sprawled out on the pitch. I’ve never seen a man that big go down so easily on such a regular basis. He was a short-sighted panic purchase made due to his goalscoring record in a Championship season and half an EPL season. Form is temporary, class is permanent. Unfortunately a lack of class is permanent as well.

    Stewart Downing is not a world class player. He’s good, but not great. He does not belong on a top team. He’s spent his whole career as a big fish in a small pond at clubs like Middlesbrough and Aston Villa. Look at Charlie Adam to see what happens when a big fish gets dropped in the ocean. Downing came to Liverpool with a lifetime of EPL experience yet has failed to perform while players from foreign leagues like David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Rafael Van der Vaart, Juan Mata and Luis Suarez have needed not a moment to adapt to a new country, new league and new team. These are class players. These are players worth their price tag.

    Henderson doesn’t belong in the first team. Jonjo Shelvey is more ready for that than he is. You don’t develop young players by throwing them to the wolves with pressure stacked high, particularly in a position they either can’t or don’t know how to play. Lucas Leiva was used sparingly in his first two season at Anfield, rarely playing a full game. It wasn’t until last season that he really came into his own and with the same treatment I think Jordan will do the same. You could even say the same for Carroll I suppose, but I doubt we’ll see the most expensive British footballer in history playing in any reserves game any time soon.

  5. Aditya Sharma says:

    Regarding the matter of the focus on British ‘talent’ by Liverpool, one reasoning I had come across (can’t recall where), which I felt had some weight in it, was that perhaps foreign talents may not want to come to Liverpool in it’s current state. While anyone who grew up in England and near-about would be well aware of Liverpool and its history, the club has been out of the list of top european clubs for a few years now. Players like Aguero, Mata, or even Gervinho (all of whom were linked with the reds before moving into a different premiership club would not wish to come to a club that has neither been competing for the top of their league, but have also been out of the Champions League for the past few years.
    Right now Liverpool needs incredible amounts of hard work and tons of good luck if they’re going to compete for the Premiership anytime in the next 4-5 years… that or some sheikh with sh*t loads of money