Andy Carroll has reflected on the events surrounding his British-record move to Liverpool and his time at Anfield, admitting he was not prepared for the demands.
It was a surreal time to be a Liverpool supporter, as the club made two late moves to replace Fernando Torres on deadline day of 2011.
In came Luis Suarez from Ajax, while a £35 million transfer was agreed with Newcastle to sign one of the rising stars of English football in Carroll, who had already scored 11 goals and laid on seven assists in 19 Premier League games for the Magpies that season.
Carroll became the most expensive British player in history, but failed to meet expectations on Merseyside, with 11 goals and six assists coming in 58 games before joining West Ham a year-and-a-half later.
After his time in east London, Carroll returned to Newcastle, but having spent two more years at St James’ Park was released this summer, and the free agent recently spoke to The Athletic.
His interview with Alan Shearer saw him discuss the nature of his move to Liverpool, suggesting if he had had it his way he would never have left his boyhood club.
“It was mad. I’d just bought a house in Newcastle, so I was sorting that out, then I was in a hotel in Liverpool not knowing the city, not knowing anyone,” he recalled.
“I couldn’t get to grips with it, or how to live and how to be at that club.
“The way I’d played at Newcastle – that was how I wanted to play. But Liverpool was completely different.
“I should have embraced their ideas, what they wanted. Thinking back, I really didn’t appreciate what I had and what I could have achieved.”
In reality, while Carroll could have done more to adjust to the style of play favoured at Liverpool, the club were wrong to pin their hopes in the entirely wrong type of striker.
The diverging fortunes of Carroll and Suarez with the Reds is an apt portrayal of the situation – the Uruguayan thriving as the relentless, clinical forward, while the Englishman stuttered as an ill-fitting No. 9.
Liverpool‘s former striker highlighted “Newcastle, the first time” as his happiest period in football, saying: “The Championship, getting promoted, being at home with my family and friends and being the No. 9 for Newcastle…it was everything.”
While he is often depicted as a troublesome character, it is hard to escape the fact that he was never comfortable with leaving Tyneside, particularly in the circumstances that surrounded his headline-grabbing switch to Liverpool.
It would be difficult to blame Carroll in that respect, with it simply the wrong fit for the player, at a time when the club were desperate for a rebuild.