Saturday 24 February 2018

Dalglish urges fans to give Carroll time

Rory Smith

KENNY DALGLISH has admitted Liverpool asked too much of Andy Carroll in the immediate aftermath of his club record £35m move from Newcastle in January and pleaded with supporters only to judge the England forward when he is fully fit.

Carroll's debut for Liverpool was delayed for six weeks after his deadline-day move to Merseyside because of a groin injury, which he sustained playing for his hometown club against Aston Villa on December 28.

Even after returning from that intractable problem, the 22-year-old struggled to convince, further injury issues restricting him to just six Premier League appearances and two goals.

Dalglish, though, believes even that may have been asking too much of a player short of fitness.

"He was never really fit when he came here," said the Scot.

"We pushed him in probably earlier than we should have and it was not particularly fair on him. Last season we were a wee bit unkind on him and asked a bit too much of him."

Though Carroll has yet to open his scoring account this season, Dalglish is adamant the improvement is clear.

The forward featured in all six of Liverpool's pre-season games and has led the line effectively against Sunderland at Anfield and at Arsenal last weekend.

"Andy is 22," said his manager. "Every time he plays, people will ask if that's the best he can be. But you never stop. You always want to improve.

"It is best to judge him when he is fully fit, and this season he certainly looks a lot fitter."

Dalglish's attempts to clear the dead wood from his squad are gathering pace, with a move to AC Milan likely to be in place for midfielder Alberto Aquilani this week.

Nabil El Zhar has already joined Levante and Milan Jovanovic the Belgian side Anderlecht, with the likes of QPR target Joe Cole and Christian Poulsen expected to follow them out of Anfield.

Inter Milan have not made an offer for Dirk Kuyt, contrary to reports in Italy.

Centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiakos was last night on the verge of completing his switch to the German side Wolfsburg on a free transfer.

The Greek international was in Germany yesterday for a medical as Liverpool continue the clearout of their squad. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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