Reading Between Squiggly Lines

Jamie McDonald

Trying to figure out what's the truth behind Andy Carroll

It's funny to talk about a player who's not even a Red any more. But all the latest about Andy Carroll makes for a wonderful study of how the British press work. Or don't work, which would be more accurate.

The headlines today were all about a whining, tearful (or so it seemed) Andy Carroll bemoaning that he never, ever got a chance at Liverpool. Then you get to the actual quotes from Carroll, and all he said was that the manager Rodgers told him that he wouldn't be anything close to first choice at Anfield and should move on to be so. Though you wonder if Rodgers knew then what he knows now about his striker shortage.... Whatever, neither her nor there.

You go on to Soccernet, and there's a story there about how Carroll would still like to return to Liverpool. Of course, there are no actual quotes to back that up. Obviously, Carroll's not going to come right out and say that while he's playing for another club. Wouldn't show the proper team spirit, I should think.

Better yet, that comes right above the story headlined, "Rodgers rules out Carroll return." But then you read the manager's actual quotes, and all it has said basically is that Fabio Borini just broke his foot a couple days ago, bringing back Carroll isn't an option for two more months, so I haven't really thought about it. What that means is that Rodgers has two months to find targets and assess how quickly or feasible it is to get them to the club. If it's not looking good, or there's no one out there, he'd be an utter moron to not bring Carroll back if for only to just have another body.

Do I think that's likely? No, I don't. But Rodgers won't carry on with just Suarez and Borini when he's healthy as the only options just to prove a point about Carroll either. While I expect Rodgers to scour the Earth to find another striking option or two or three, Carroll is obviously the easiest and quickest one to be pulled back. It'll be a last resort, but Liverpool aren't going to be able to afford a long negotiation with someone that drags through January either.

Basically, it's all a bunch of steam about nothing. Because there's not much going on this week before the Derby.

-The Champions League group stage has reached that time where it becomes a slog through the mud. No big clubs have gotten themselves in huge trouble yet, and most of them have already played each other once. So you get that day where you wake up and realize you've already missed the one game taking place in Russia, if you were even interested in the first place. You have Juve playing some team from Scandinavia that you can't pronounce, and Chelsea making easier work of a match that looked like it should have been tougher. Add to that Barca batting around Celtic, and it makes for a pretty boring day. But it beats no footy, I suppose.

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