Would Liverpool be making a mistake to let Carroll go?
Andy Carroll may have thought he had finally got his feet under the table at Liverpool after ending last season with the sort of flourish that suggested he had settled to life on Merseyside.
No-one could claim the 23-year-old had even come close to justifying the exorbitant £35m fee Liverpool handed over to Newcastle United in January 2011 as part of the proceeds from Fernando Torres's £50m sale to Chelsea.
There were some vital signs, however, of the return of the form that prompted former manager Kenny Dalglish to make the giant Geordie his prime target once Torres had taken his talents to Stamford Bridge.
Carroll, for so long little more than a despairing misfit despite constant public expressions of faith from Dalglish, was alive again. He scored the winner in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton and almost rescued a hopeless position against Chelsea in the final at Wembley with a goal and a performance that made a nonsense of his non-selection, although Dalglish's initial pick seemed based on sound logic.
He then followed that up by terrorising Chelsea captain John Terry as Liverpool won 4-1 in a Premier League game that turned out to be Dalglish's last Anfield game as manager before he was sacked and replaced by Brendan Rodgers.
And it is the arrival of Rodgers, accompanied by his avowed intention to maintain the fluid, passing approach that won so many admirers at Swansea City that now leaves Carroll's Liverpool future open to question.
Carroll scored some crucial goals for Liverpool at the back end of last season. Photo: Getty
If Carroll, who played for England at Euro 2012 and scored a spectacular header in the win against Sweden, was hoping for a ringing endorsement from Rodgers about the part he has to play at Anfield then it has not arrived.
He will hardly have been reassured by the arrival of Roma's Fabio Borini while Rodgers has expressed his hopes that Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez will sign a new contract at Liverpool.
It merely strengthens the impression that Carroll's bludgeoning, physical style will not provide a neat fit within the more subtle tactical framework Rodgers aims to foster following his arrival at Anfield. He prefers a high-tempo front three - a system which Carroll would not appear to suit.
Rodgers said: "Andy's always going to be linked with clubs, whether he was here or not. I have spoken to him on his holidays and he knows exactly where he stands.
"Andy's a player I want to assess and speak with. We've already had a good chat on where we're at."
Carroll will be reluctant to give up easily on his Anfield career after only 18 months and he may regard Rodgers's words as a demand to adapt to the new climate at the club rather than a message that he is heading for the exit.
In among the plaudits that were aimed in Swansea's direction last season, there was the occasional barb that their passing approach sometimes lacked a "Plan B". Would Carroll not provide that other option should Rodgers experience similar problems, or is he simply too much of a stranger to his coaching philosophy?
Experienced Liverpool observers rightly point to potential problems with Carroll's fitness should he not get a regular game. That is not a comment on his attitude, which was praised by Dalglish and England manager Roy Hodgson, but a recognition that he is a player who needs to be in constant action. This is unlikely to be the case now Rodgers has landed Borini.
The dilemma is not only Carroll's. Liverpool would prefer to sell but know they might not get within £20m of a return on their initial investment. This has led to speculation about a loan move, although the Anfield club have turned down such an approach from Carroll's former club Newcastle.
West Ham would also be interested if a loan deal could be done. It does not take a huge leap of the imagination to see how much Hammers manager Sam Allardyce might relish the idea of Carroll leading his attack back in the Premier League.
Of course one option is that Carroll, having showing flashes of form at the end of last season, will choose to stay and fight it out and prove to Rodgers that he can play a part.
It certainly seems Carroll retains support among Liverpool's fan base. Throwing out the question about his future on Twitter, the audience is obviously framed by that medium but there was virtually unanimous backing for Carroll to be given a chance by Rodgers.
Rodgers wants to make a fast start at Liverpool after a tough early fixture list gave them home games against Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Whether Andy Carroll has a part to play in those games remains to be seen.