Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers hailed Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing, the two ex-Kop men, ahead of the West Ham United visit this weekend
Liverpool face West Ham United this Sunday and the London team would have a few familiar faces for the Merseyside visitors. Brendan Rodgers spoke about Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing ahead of the match in his pre-match conference and appreciated both the players. He said that Carroll doesn’t have anything to prove to Liverpool supporters and Downing was a player who he didn’t want to sell:
“Both players are fantastic players,” Rodgers said.
“Andy wasn’t let go from here because he wasn’t good enough. I think he’s one of the best players in Europe in how he plays, that style of attacking the ball in the air – he’s outstanding.
“Everyone knows the way I work; it was never to say that Andy couldn’t work that way, but he needed to play. He’s gone on and done great for West Ham.
“When he has been fit, he has shown that he is one of the top strikers playing in that style of football. It certainly wasn’t because he wasn’t good enough. He’s gone on and when he’s played and been fit for West Ham, he’s been excellent.
“He knows he’s a very good player. West Ham paid a lot of money for him and identified him as a top young player. Playing in the style of football that West Ham play, there’s not many better. He is wonderful in the air, touch in and around the box, his technique to swivel and turn at times in the box is great.
“So he certainly has nothing to prove to Liverpool. Coming in, my ideas and, more importantly, being unable to offer him the opportunity to play week in, week out, was the biggest factor. Andy wanted to play, because he had spent the period of 18 months or so beforehand actually not playing regularly. This was a chance for him to do that and he’s taken it really well.”
“Stewart Downing, like all the players in the opening few months when I came in, it was difficult for him. But then he really progressed and became a very important member of our team and squad by the end of the season.
“But the money that we were offered for him was going to help in getting other players in and help us continue along our journey within the philosophy. Stewart left and he has gone to there and been one of their best players, if not the best player. He’s got a great left foot.
“And both of them were good men as well. I only worked with Andy for a short period of time, but he was a good guy. Stewart, likewise, was excellent.”
Jose Enrique, Liverpool’s first choice left back, has been out with injury since November and it was initially believed that he could make a return to the pitch by February after he went through a surgery, but Brendan Rodgers said that his rehabilitation is progressing slowly and is taking longer than expected. Rodgers said that the Spaniard is likely to miss out the entire season with the injury.
“The likelihood is he will miss from now until the end of the season,” said the Liverpool boss.
“The priority now is getting him fully fit and getting him ready for next season.”