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Dalglish knowhow can help fill Torres void

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 17:11 UK time, Thursday, 3 February 2011

Only Andy Carroll's thigh injury has denied Liverpool fans the chance to directly compare their new strike force with former hero Fernando Torres when the Reds travel to Chelsea on Sunday.

They will already be buoyed by Luis Suarez scoring on his debut against Stoke in midweek and will look forward to a partnership with Carroll some are likening to previous Liverpool forwards John Toshack and Kevin Keegan.

Nevertheless, the question remains whether the deal to bring in £35m Carroll and £22.7m Suarez for £50m Torres represents good business.

On the one hand you have a World Cup and European Championship winner who has scored 65 Premier League goals, while on the other you have a striker new to English football and a 22-year old who has scored 14 times in the top tier.

The fact that Torres appeared to be disillusioned at Anfield might settle the argument. As Reds manager Kenny Dalglish said on Monday: "The most important people at Liverpool Football Club are the ones who want to be here."

But what exactly will Liverpool be getting from their new front two?

As he demonstrated against Stoke on Wednesday, Suarez is a predator. The former Ajax captain scored 49 goals in 48 games in the Eredivisie last season and helped guide Uruguay to the World Cup semi-finals last summer, albeit in controversial circumstances.

For Carroll, whose price tag was the more surprising of the two, you get far more than an aerial threat, according to Match of the Day pundit and former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer.

"You get a leader of the line, a player who can hold the ball up and you get someone who defenders hate playing against," he said, with passing statistics showing Carroll was far more involved than Torres in the game between Newcastle and Liverpool in December.

Carroll's passes against Liverpool show he was far more involved than Torres when they played against each other in December

"His link-up play is very good too. He can bring people into the game and he can run into the channels if you need him to. He's still very young and has got a lot to learn but if there is one guy who can teach him then it is Kenny Dalglish."

It was as Blackburn's manager in 1992 that Dalglish signed Shearer from Southampton for a then record fee of £3.3m. So there are echoes in the way the Scot has plucked Carroll from a mid-table team aiming for eventual title glory.

The good news for Liverpool fans is that following an initial season where Shearer scored 16 league goals, he then went on to notch more than 30 in each of the next three seasons for Rovers, which included a Premier League title in 1995.

Dalglish was also responsible for bringing Chris Sutton to Ewood Park, forming the famous SAS partnership that resulted in 49 league goals in that title-winning season.

"My whole game improved working under Dalglish," said Shearer. "Kenny helped my movement, he helped my positional play and he helped me get in the box more often to score more goals.

"As he did with me, he'll speak to Andy every single day so I'm convinced Andy's game will improve by working with Kenny. Kenny is not only a great man but a great manager in my opinion. He won the league with Liverpool and Blackburn because of his football knowhow and of course he played in a forward position too."

In signing Carroll, Dalglish may have already studied various partnerships at Newcastle where his link-ups with captain Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton have been a feature of their season.

Barton has set up five of Carroll's 11 league goals this term, making them the most prolific combination in the Premier League. The duo have 12 assists between them.

And as if to underline Carroll's presence in the air Newcastle are the fourth best team for scoring from set-pieces with 39% of their goals coming from that route.

"Newcastle have looked to put balls in the box at every opportunity, whether from set-plays or open play and that is one of the reasons why Joey Barton has looked so good this year," Shearer added.

"He knows that if you put the right ball in the box, eight or nine times out of 10 Carroll will get on the end of it. For a wide or midfield player that is great to know."

That notion will be welcomed by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and he will also be encouraged by the connection between Carroll and Nolan, which was similar to the one he had with Torres.

"Gerrard can time his runs knowing that Carroll can win a flick-on or bring him into the game with either his pace or his strength," stated Shearer.

"Andy has also partnered Shola Ameobi up front this season so he has played in different formations and I don't think it will be problem for him to play either way with Gerrard or Suarez."

Carroll's touches against Arsenal show is involved in a defensive capacity

There is an added value to Carroll's aerial ability. Where Torres rarely contributed to Liverpool's defending, the 6ft 3in striker can help clear danger at set-pieces, as the touch map right shows.

That has proved to be a hidden weapon for Newcastle this season, who have the second best record in the Premier League for conceding this way, only 15% of their total, while 24% of Liverpool's goals against have come in this fashion.

"I think Liverpool have moved very well after the loss of Torres," said Shearer. "He is a world-class player and has been for many years so you can understand why Chelsea want to pay that type of money for him.

"But in Carroll and Suarez they have got two guys who are goalscorers, they will be horrible to play against and I'm pretty sure they will fill the gap vacated by Torres."

The Spaniard's move to London has presented Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti with a completely different dilemma.

Where once debate raged on who was the better striker between Torres and Didier Drogba, they now find themselves in the same team. Add in Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda and there will be some serious juggling involved.

Ancelotti has tended to favour a front three of Drogba, Anelka and Malouda this season, but Torres' move could lead to him switching formations.

"Torres will be able to make the adjustment to the way Chelsea play," said Shearer. "I know he has been off-colour lately - and you suspect it was because he wanted to get away from Liverpool - but now he has left, it might put the spring back in his step. You might see the Torres that we saw a year or two ago.

"The obvious front two to me would be Drogba and Torres and that would be some forward line. The partnership has got a bit of everything: it has got raw pace, raw strength, it is good in the air, it is good at attacking balls, both have a good touch; so potentially those two have got the lot.

"If you look at the Liverpool pair, Carroll is young and inexperienced while Suarez is just coming into the country to learn the English game. But in Torres and Drogba they know it inside out already and you know what you are getting."

On that basis, it looks like Dalglish is the one taking the bigger gamble. Yet with his pedigree both as a player and manager it is hard to doubt his nous for weaving another prolific strike force capable of returning the good times to Anfield.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Good blog. I think Torres is a 50 million signing, as you know that he will score goals. I also like to think that Chelsea have finally got a striker who when Drogba is not available can fill that void. As good as Anelka is, he is the sort of player that would not win the league single handedly like Drogba could. I think that Ancelotti should attempt to play all three, and look into the idea of playing Anelka slightly behind drogba and Torres. If this is the case then you see Drogba and Torres staying relatively central, but at the same time you don't have three stikers cramming the middle as Drogba has been drawn naturally wider this year, and Anelka could do the same. Against Sunderland we saw that Anelka starting from deep is completely different to Anelka dropping deep, and when he started deep is was pleasantly surprised that it did not seem to affect Lampard.

  • Comment number 2.

    Words can be plentiful, well served and looking impressive, but facts don't lie. Torres was always giving a hint he didn't really want to be around anymore, at Anfield. The graphics indicating ball passes, comparing Torres and Carroll show it clearly. The other detail shown is that Carroll also tracks back to help defend, as shown in cases where he gave passes from the defense and lower in midfield.

    If there's one person who can help Carroll and Suarez in the premiership it has to be Kenny Dalglish. He knows it all, seen it all and, as stated in the case of Sutton in Blackburn, he's done it before.

    I don't think Dalglish has taken a gamble in Suarez and Carroll. Suarez scored and had a good game, having played for half an hour, giving a good account of himself, without even having had a training session with the Liverpool team. It can't be a case of accidental luck. Quality always shows from day one. We've seen it in Tevez, David Silva, Modric, Van Der Vaart, Vermaelen, Hernandez and every other quality player who arrived in the premiership and had or has a successful career. On the other hand, Carroll represents the future, perhaps, of England attack and, in his maiden full season in the premiership as main attacking force in his team has scored against the strongest of oppositions, while helping his team with his presense on the pitch.

    Liverpool were always going to lose Torres, but they used the cash they received wisely and instantly. The only strange thing at the Liverpool camp is that Dalglish doesn't have a full time contract yet, which is a shame really.

  • Comment number 3.

    as an LFC fan, i was very disappointed to see Torres go and in a way i can't blame him either but hey ho - you've got to move forward.

    I agree with the blog - torres and drogba should form a very very impressive and formiddable front pairing (if only for 2 or 3 seasons at most as i can see drogbas injuries catching up with him sooner or later).

    I also think as Liverpool fans we have something to be very optimistic about - when fit and playing together, there will a very interesting dynamic between carrol and suarez - they are still both young and very talented. Training with KK, a master of the trade is not going to do them any harm either.

  • Comment number 4.

    Great article Alan. I was at the Stoke game and i think Kennys biggest challenge this season (and next) will be to get some pace into Liverpools play. Too often Liverpool were over passing it around midfield, thus allowing Stoke to pile back and get into better defensive positions. Suarez has a bit of pace which will help and Carroll will be a threat in the air in the future. Given the state the club was in 3 or 4 months ago, I think Liverpool have turned a corner.

  • Comment number 5.

    i personally think that chelsea shud go 4 the 2 up front instead of the lone striker, because no striker prefers to play on their own, they like a partner to link up with and someone to help them with closing down defenders etc and so that they dont become isolated, also the fact that both drogba and torres are goin to want to play, if they were to sit on the bench then i think that either one wud seek a move to another club where they wud be able to start, i dont think that ancelotti wil play 3 up front with drogba anelka and torres, he didnt play drogba and anelka as a two so why wud he put them together as a three? Also i am still not convinced of carroll yet, suarez is a proven goalscorer with bags of ability and technique and has all the attributes to be the best striker in the premier league, but carroll concerns me, obviously he has the physicality and is good heading the ball and has a great left foot, but im still not assured that he is technicaly good enough to be at liverpool and play in europe, if they ever get there, i think that he cud easily lose his rag and get sent off and if he stops scoringthen im not sure that he is good enough to offer liverpool anything other than goals, but who knows he may turn out to be a great signing.

  • Comment number 6.

    No. 1 Super_Frank - Anelka not win the league single handedly?

    Isn't that the whole reason Real Madrid bought him from Arsenal all those years ago? Anelka is an immense goalscorer!!

    To paraphrase that beer advert 'If they made goalscorers, Anelka would probably be what you get'

  • Comment number 7.

    Gotta say, I think it's great business by Liverpool, and typical Chelsea business. No thought has gone into it from the Blues' side - do they really think the likes of Le Sulk and Malouda will accept being marginalised. At least they offloaded Sturridge for the season as he has got a rude awakening as to what it's like trying to break into the big spenders' teams.

    On the other hand Liverpool have got a real handful of a partnership. Was a massive fan of Suarez until his handball incident, but realistically who wouldn't have done that? He's lethal, and Carroll is the real deal. Not often you see the likes of Vidic and Terry being bullied but Carroll has shown that he can match anyone aerially. All of a sudden I would predict Liverpool a top 3 finish next year and then challenging the year after. What they would give for the service of Xabi Alonso now too! Even more so than before.

  • Comment number 8.

    In my humble opinion Liverpool have done excellent business.

    Not only do I view the partnership of Suarez & Carroll as being far more potent than Torres - either with either of them or with anyone Liverpool already had - but Carroll is a far more involved player.

    Torres, after his first season when he took the league by surprise to an extent, has failed to reach the same heights again. Yes, there are the reasons (excuses?)such as injuries etc, but there are two more telling factors.

    For some time Torres has not looked totally happy (not even in the Spain setup) and has not performed at peak (again, not even in the Spain setup). Does any club really want or need a player who's heart is not in it? It seemed clear for a long time that Torres did not really believe Liverpool capable of winning titles, or making it back into CL, and that is what he wanted. He seemed unwilling to totally committing himself to making that happen.

    The second factor is one where all the Torres fans and Liverpool faithful will no doubt shout me down. I see Torres as a very one-dimensional player. He has pace, and is a great finisher when on form, but offers nothing else. If teams learned to counteract his pace (so he never had the space and time to pick his finish) or to cut off his supply, he was effectively out of the game. Very seldom would you see him grafting to make things happen for the team. I think the diagrams of passes made (both succesful and uncompleted) and the touch map show this clearly.

    Torres is a good striker, and a great finisher if presented with a chance, but nowhere near the superstar the media (and Liverpool supporters) have always made him out to be.

    I said from the start that Liverpool have done the better business than Chelsea by far, and I stand by that.

  • Comment number 9.

    Who can argue with Alan Shearers' assessment.

    Torres looks tailor made for Chelsea and he can eclipse even the prolific form he showed at Liverpool if things work out right for him.
    Can and have Liverpool fill the void of Torres?
    Well I dont think so in terms of Torres as the person. He gave up a lot to come to Liverpool. His attitude and behaviour towards the club and the fans pulled the strings to our hearts so much so that we adopted him as one of our own, which was a bit naive of us considering he is a modern day footballer who is an Atletico man.
    This affection towards him is the reason why this transfer hurts so bad. He shunned the fans and left through the back door. But I can understand his decisions given the turmoil at the club during the H&G reign, albiet the way he made them.

    However, I feel Torres as a player can and has more than been replaced. The combination of qualities of Suarez and Carroll give Liverpool more options than Torres alone, and more importantly, they are two strikers. With Torres being out injured Liverpool had to shift Kuyt up front or Ngog. At least know they have the option of another striker.
    However, the real advantage I feel for Liverpool in Torres departing is that it gives Liverpool a new look.
    They had started to become predictable and even boring. With Suarez, Carroll and even Meireles no one knows what to expect. I think this combination will allow other players to also show their qualities, and am expecting a new lease of life from Gerrard and maybe even Kuyt.

    I think both Chelsea and Liverpool have gained, rather than Liverpool's loss being Chelsea' gain.
    Torres pound for pound is better than Suarez or Carroll, but at least when players are expected to fill someone elses boots they have a level of expectation they know they have to achieve. Its the charater of the individuals which makes them achieve and even surpass that expectation.
    I for one think Liverpool have got the perfect candidates in Suarez and Carroll.

    Shearer your a legend.

  • Comment number 10.

    Big decison for Ancelotti does he play Drogba or Torres as Anelka and Malouda normally play in the wide forward positions. I think Drogba will leave in the summer

    Liverpool have got waht shoudl be an excellent (if somewhat overpriced in Andy Carrols case) strikeforce

  • Comment number 11.

    Barton has set up five of Carroll's 11 league goals this term, making them the most prolific combination in the Premier League. The duo have 12 assists between them.


    dont understand how this can be true if you take nani and berbatovs goals/assists into consideration

  • Comment number 12.

    I am surprised at the sudden turn around in Liverpool fortunes. I can't accept it's purely a Daglish factor, but also a No more Roy issue as well. The players clearly didn't want to play for him in hindsight, and anyone coming in would have seen some improvement I imagine. Liverpool have leapt up the table, Sold their top scorer, bought and immense player in Suarez who has a temperament to match stevie g. I think what we might see from Liverpool now is a team ready to challenge, there is just one maybe two pieces missing near the back. It is too late for this season but there is not reason the team that finished second two seasons ago, won't challenge again next season. I am excited at the prospect, but I have sneaky suspicion that if it starts to go wrong, the wheels might come off. Liverpool as a team, better place to be without Torres I reckon.
    Chlesea with him.....given the amount of goals they have scored, I actually think it's a huge waste of Money, they don't have any need for him whatsoever but with him, they will get back to tearing teams apart. Near the end of the season I think you will see chelsea racking up huge scores if Ancellotti knows how to play him in the team.
    The other side of all this is that both Torres and Caroll could turn out to be crocks and then both clubs will look really silly.

  • Comment number 13.

    9. At 09:06am on 04 Feb 2011, abdul wajid wrote:

    of course you're going to get more out of playing two up top then just one but then you're going to be one less body in midfield so you wont be able to just defend all the time as effectively

  • Comment number 14.


    There is reference to Shearer and his time under Kenny at Blackburn. What he had there was two wingers who although not world class players, would get to the byline and whip in cross after cross. Result? Shearer and Sutton who thrived on the delivery from Ripley and Wilcox scoring all kinds of goals.

    Then Shearer mentions how Joey Barton has adjusted his game to play on the right and deliver in ball after ball to Carroll. I'm afraid this is something Liverpool will not offer to Carroll and Suarez.

    On the right wing is a failed striker in Dirk Kuyt, a man who wins plent of corners due to his ability to hit the first man every time he crosses a ball.

    On the left? Who knows, Fabio Aurelio can deliver, but is unlikely to get that far in advance to deliver. Maxi Rodriguez likes to play inside. I think that Liverpool could become a little one dimensional attempting to play the through ball via Gerrard/Meirelles - which worked so well with Torres.

    However it will not be Torres reading and chasing with his amazing anticipation and pace. It will be Suarez, who has a burst of acceleration but no real pace, and Carroll who will not be the worry of any defender running onto, or with the ball at foot level.

  • Comment number 15.

    The money of course is ott which is par for a jan window but no surprise.
    I feel Liverpool have the best of the deal. Looks like KK is going for 2 up top who have the potential to be a real handful. Could be exciting times ahead, but it's only the first step in rebuilding the team, and good to start with hungry goal getters. Plenty more work to be done yet.
    Chelsea also have some rebuilding to do as parts of the team are obviously creaking. I'm sure Drogba and Anelka will move on in the summer, taking one last hoorah to pad out the pension. Maybe Torres with either Sturridge / Kalou / Kakuta / a.n.other next year, doesn't look at this point to be as promising as Carroll / Suarez. Both teams will be looking at new midfield signings to provide the ammunition, and then we'll see.

  • Comment number 16.

    On top form, Torres is the best striker in the world. From his first goal for Liverpool against Chelsea he became the darling of the fans, a status which he seemed to appreciate more than most players do. I had read pieces on him expressing how he would return to the dressing room after a match 'buzzing' off how many times he had heard the fans sing his song.
    The love for Torres from the liverpool fans was the most ive known since Robbie Fowler and it is something he will never find again. Even when we lost to Man Utd and were kept behind after the game, the fans were singing the Torres song as though he had just completed a hat-trick infront of the stretford end!!!

    It is so difficult to see him with the blue of Chelsea, a club that not only represents the opposite values of Liverpool FC but more importantly for Torres's credibility (or lack of), the values of Athletico to. However, because he is the best striker in the world, he will no doubt prove a superb signing for them. A fit, hungry, title chasing Torres will so hard to tame, and at 26, Chelsea will benefit from the best years of his career. The irony of Torres's first interview as a Chelsea player, for me was his claim that Drogba was the best striker in the world. For years I have always made the case for Torres over Drogba, for one massive reason. Drogba is a super player and provides a fantastic return for the team, but to be 'an all time great' for me takes something extra. The goals Drogba scores, are not easy on the eye. There are lots of headers, powerfull drives, miss hits etc....where as Torres's goals are just beautiful to watch, even the simple tap-ins are done with such style, the kind of style that makes the fans fall in love with the player. No doubt, Chelsea fans will feel the same as we did after they wittness his genius, but i wonder if the working class hero from Athletico will ever see himself in the Chelsea support??
    Despite the betrail, for once Liverpool got good money for one of our top players leaving and Dalglish has assembled what could prove to be an awsome front two. The natural instinct of Suarez and the power of carroll is simply mouth watering. Ok £35 million is over priced but faced with the situation Torres forced us into, which ever player we targeted, the selling club held all the cards with the knowledge we had £50 million in our pocket and 5 hours to sign a striker. What pleases me most about the Carroll deal, is that, unlike Spurs, we were able to target one player as a replacement to play with Suarez and we made the deal stick. Harry Redknapps desperation to sign a big name player for loads of money was almost laughable, it seems they rang every club in europe and begged them to sell their top players at any price!
    Carroll is one of those players that is difficult to like, he does not come accross like a nice guy, like Torres did, and because of his size it is easy to assume he maybe clumsey, but he is awsome physically, scores all sorts of goals, and i cant wait to see how many assists he provides for Suarez. The main thing i noticed about him playing for Newcastle this season though, is just how much pace he has when he gets moving, to see someone that size steaming forward its just frightening!!
    Strangly enough, he is more like Drogba than Torres, and although I always made the case for the latter from now on all Carrolls goals for Liverpool will be far more beautiful to watch than any of the soul-less efforts Torres scores for Chelsea.

  • Comment number 17.

    In what way are Suarez and Carroll complimentary?
    4-4-2 is dead as a formation, even fifa know that:
    Or summarised nicely here:
    Uruguay played a 4-4-1-1, but Suarez lead the line, with Forlan playing behind. Does anyone really think Carroll is going to sit in the hole in front of the defence and work the opposition def mid?
    Strike 'partnerships' are a thing of the past. Tottenham is about the only team in the Prem playing close to that formation, and look how many goals they concede. And even then Crouch's natural game is to drop back rather than lead the line. ManU also play a varient of 4-4-1-1, but which of Suarez or Carroll is going to ahve Rooneys work-rate in behind someone else leading the line?
    So much for a critical analysis. The £35mio was a waste that would have been much more effectively used to strengthen the other areas of the squad that are so obviously poor.

  • Comment number 18.

    Chelsea now have options not open to them so far this season. Anelka (the most frustrating of players) played well in a deeper role against Sunderland in mid week. If Obi Mikel doesn't have any brainstorms it doesn't matter who plays further ahead. They are all devastating when they want to be
    Drogba plays very wide at times and creates chances, if players of that experience can't work it out for themselves then there is something wrong
    A lot of money that will never be recouped but the Chelsea squad needed strengthening and it is a squad game now, having three subs makes a big difference theses days
    For me Malouda has been the biggest failure this season, getting caught in possession too much and still prone to laziness whereas Anelka just falls asleep
    Luiz (Ivanovic)
    Obi Mikel

  • Comment number 19.

    £35m for someone who lets face it could be Duncan Ferguson. It is madness.

    I am sure the Liverpool fans are looking forward to their new tactic of lumping the ball up to Carroll like England will start to use - if he gets in the team !!!

    Come on Fernando - Bang a hat-trick and become a fans favourite for many years to come.

  • Comment number 20.

    Some good observations in the blog, and good honest responses from Shearer, who with a reputation as one of the modern day great forwards surely knows what he is talking about on this subject.

    I don't think it's a case of whether or not Carroll and Suarez can 'replace' Torres as has been mooted about this week, it's more a case of whether Liverpool can progress their game enough to minimise the impact that Torres' absence will have on the team.

    In Carroll and Suarez Liverpool have signed two totally different types of forward to Torres. I don't need to go into their styles, we all know how the three of them play. But for me, there is now a huge reliance on Kenny Dalglish, Steve Clarke and Sammy Lee to change Liverpool's style of play to suit the men up top.

    In times gone by Liverpool have failed to adapt to changes in personnel, whether it was Torres, N'Gog or Kuyt leading the line they played the same way. they also struggled to adapt to changes in formation when required. This can not carry on if they are to have any success. What's more i think Dalglish is clever enough to realise this and has already set the wheels in motion to change the way they play as a unit. You only have to look at the last three matches to see the movement and forward momentum is slowly coming back in.

    I also agree with one of the earlier comments, the key thing here is that Kenny has now got two strong forwards at his disposal as opposed to just the one. Couple this with the fact that both forwards bring something totally different to the table and all of a sudden Liverpool have so many more options. You would think given the cash outlay here that both men will start when fit, so they could play a two pronged attack or play Suarez in just behind Carroll. It is also an option to play a three man attack with Carroll spearheading and Suarez and Gerrard either side.

    Clearly it also gives Liverpool a luxury they have previously not enjoyed since the Fowler, Owen, Heskey days...having another front line striker to come into the attack when one gets injured.

    It is wrong to label Carroll and Suarez as the new Toshack and Keegan, especially given that they are yet to play together, partnerships are formed over time. However what can be said is that it is certainly an exciting and promising strikeforce (if a little bit lacking Premiership experience) and one which gives Liverpool the potential to build a team around.

    The key now is for Kenny to get Gerrard, Mereiles etc to adapt their approach play for the good of the team. Liverpool now have a base from which to build their revival - Reina, Agger, Carragher, Gerrard, Mereiles, Carroll, Suarez - as well as the young and promosing Martin Kelly. It is now imperative that Dalglish strengthens the wide positions in the summer so they can get the best out of their new look side.

  • Comment number 21.

    I don't really rate Shearer's blogs there never as insightful as Dixon's. The title is how dalglish is filling the Torres void but there isn't even a guess at how Liverpool will play when Carrol's fit and Suarez hardly gets a mention.

    I was expecting some tactical analysis about how the two were going to play together not just a in depth look at Carrol.

    I think it's a good bit of business for Liverpool as they've got two potential matchwinners instead of one who is injured a great deal. I know liverpool fans feel a bit betrayed by Torres think he should be indebted to the club but they have to remember he left Atletico Madrid his boyhood club and the club he loves to win major Trophies something that was looking further and further away staying at Liverpool. He probably thought go to Chelsea have Drogba to play with or stay and play up top with Ngog.

    Saying that thought I have a feeling Drogba might push for a move away from Chelsea if they don't win something!

  • Comment number 22.

    A team buy Luis Suarez & Andy Carroll and 80% of the talk is about Andy Carroll, tells you everything that's wrong with this corner of the world.

  • Comment number 23.

    Post 17, dbp wrote: "In what way are Suarez and Carroll complimentary?
    4-4-2 is dead as a formation, even fifa know that:"

    I hate it when people make stuff up. From p.48 the FIFA technical report on the 2010 World Cup which dhp refers:

    "Ten teams had a traditional starting formation of 4-4-2 with two banks of four behind two strikers, with one of these strikers often playing in a more withdrawn role. England, the USA and Paraguay were good examples of this. It should be noted, however, that these teams were also able
    to make changes and adjustments depending on the match situation or to take advantage of their players’ individual qualities.

    Argentina’s 4-4-2 formation had a four-man diamond in midfield, whereas Brazil fielded two defensive midfi elders and two wingers who came inside when possible to make room for their advancing full-backs. Ghana, meanwhile, played with two men in front of the defence as well as with
    three midfi elders to help out in both attack and defence."

  • Comment number 24.

    first of all torres for 50 million is cheap even if he is not playing well, i would say he is worth 65 million or more, we all know how good he is when he clicks, and now drogba and torres erm thats the best pairing forward in the world right now villa and messi are very good but not with them two though. and than carrol we all know the english people right we over hype players carrol is good but his not better than hernandez, and hernandez is worth now i would say 24 million and carrol for 35 million, well we have to wait and see. if he can justify the price tag.

    and lusi suarez looked goo but not sure on pace though he needs to work on his fitness and he has skills as we know and everything else, maybe he can fill toress's shoes.

  • Comment number 25.

    I think Kenny Dalglish has done some good business here in securing 2 very different forwards which could spell trouble for the opposition when both are playing together. I can see them being a complete handful for defenders and couple that with the ability to bring others into the game, this could be a turning point in the fortunes of LFC. I am also heartened by the return to the "old" LFC ethos of keeping things in house and not broadcasting it. It was very telling, as mentioned in earlier posts, King Kenny's comments about Liverpool FC being more important than any individual.

    Also, he is in a prime position to be able to help with the education of both Suarez and Carroll in forward combination play as pointed out by Mr Shearer. All in all, I think it looks like LFC are in a position to move forward and prove to be less of a predictable proposition to opposing teams. I just hope KD is given time and a suitable contract to allow this to come about as I think he is a class act.

  • Comment number 26.

    @dbp no.17

    are you not forgetting the other team that have played a 4-4-1-1 over the last couple of seasons... Liverpool??

    Gerrard has been the 1 behind Torres, while the 2 wide men have been supported by Mascherano and Alonso, or Lucas and Meireles.

    Playing the same formation with this squad we have know could potentially be a lot better - Gerrard can drop deeper and be more influential from the middle, while Suarez can drop into the 'hole' and work off Carroll. Then if the long ball goes to Carroll, Suarez is in a deep position to burst in behind him. If he wins a flick on, Suarez will be hungry to get there with his burst of pace and once he has it he looks for goal.

    He might have been the focal point of the attack with Uruguay and Ajax, but I'm assuming you haven't seen his performance on Wednesday against Stoke? In a quick half hour, having not trained with the team, he showed his willingness to drop into that hole and work hard, making tackles on the half way line, playing it out wide and then bursting into the box. It will be interesting to see but I actually think he will be perfect for that role in behind, with Gerrard and Meireles pushing on just behind him.

  • Comment number 27.

    Personally I hope defences have figured Torres out, and its not that he is just a mope, and that he is actually as good as his goal return has been for the last year.

    That would be £50 million up in smoke and nearly twice as funny as when they wanged £35m of Shevchenko.

  • Comment number 28.

    @no.24 Badefella

    Torres and Drogba better than Villa and Messi?!?!

    Someone's had a drink this morning!!

  • Comment number 29.

    Interesting times for both clubs. I guess Chelsea fans will be relieved that after a few months of pretending to be a self sustaining business, they are now spending again - this could be just the start of an extensive rebuilding process. Torres has the ability to be excellent for them, although the team will need to change its style to get the best out of him. Drogba is also not the easiest player to partner up front - Kezman, Shevchenko, Kalou, Gudjonsen and Anelka have all tried and none of them have really been succssful. This time though, it will presumably be Drogba making way if things don't work out.

    As for Liverpool, I like the point made earlier that old fashioned strike partnerships don't really work these days. However, both players have the potential to be great for liverpool, I guess that sometimes they will play in tandem and sometimes one of them will be on the bench. Neither player comes without risk but Liverpool fans must feel that they have at least bounced back from losing Torres.

    One final point - very few transfer window signings win trophies. I see the premiership as being between United and Arsenal, although Chelsea clearly have a good chance of winning the champions league.

  • Comment number 30.

    It will be intriguing how the two play together and how it will affect Liverpool's game.

    Carroll: On Sky last night they listed the top ten transfer fees of all time and to see his name on the list shows what a ridiculously large amount it was to pay. Ronaldo, Ibrahimobic, Kaka, Torres, Zidane, Figo, Crespo, Carroll, Villa and Buffon. But it's not his fault and I rate him highly as a player. A menace in the air but a powerful player with the ball at his feet too.

    Suarez: He looked exciting at times in the World Cup but as ever with the South Americans you just wonder what you'll get. Will he be a Forlan or a Tevez? Certainly there is nothing like winning the fans over early. On a side note, I know he hasn't been playing for a while but I thought he looked a bit chunky in the photos I saw from Wednesday night!

  • Comment number 31.

    Forgot to add, I think the real winners of the Torres and Carroll's transfers will be Bolton and Fulham. Sturridge and Kakuta look very good young prospects to me, they were just at the wrong club.

  • Comment number 32.

    I have to say the unerring positivity that liverpool fans always seem to have in times of crisis never ceases to amaze me.
    Only Liverpool fans can see the loss of one of their two world class players as a good move for the club or a vital step in the transition that will ultimately see them rise again. Someone needs to tell them that it is ok to be sad and upset at the state of modern football, it is ok to be upset, angry and fearful that they have lost arguably their most influential and loved player. It's a natural step in the five stages of grief. Shock, denial, anger, sadness and acceptance.
    Only true football fans can empathise with that gut wrenching feeling of losing a critical match or hearing that the inner workings of your club are making key players unhappy enough to want to leave.
    I will never understand why Liverpool fans treat the clubs hierarchy like they are unfailing deities who always have the clubs best interests at heart. It's a business now, accept it, enjoy the football if you can, then move on.
    Henry is not a Liverpool fan, he is a business man who, in order to protect his investment, has finally realised that being a mediocre mid table team will be very bad for business. It is time to speculate to accumulate.
    The worrying thing for liverpool at the moment is that Torres' move to Chelsea isn't a gamble, he is one of only a handful of players in the world who can sit in the world class bracket. A 26 year old, half fit unhappy player is still better than 90% of the worlds players and once fitness is regained and contentment restored it is inevitable that he will be great again. Suarez and Carroll cannot be considered anything other than a gamble, any player who hasn't played in the premier league is a gamble, simple. Carroll is promising yes and has scored a couple of good goals for a mid table side but £35m!? Wow. Too much.
    Henry's promise to invest further is a good sign but someone needs to tell him that if you continue to invest in mid table players, you will end up with exactly that, a mid table team.
    Prices have gone up and liverpool did themselves no favours for the future. If they go in for Ashley Young in the summer, Villa will quite rightly say 'well you've paid £35m for an unrpoven youngster, young's worth at least the same if not more'. And who is going to replace Gerrard now that he is in the last few years at the top??

    Someone who costs £50m that's who.

  • Comment number 33.

    I think both teams could end up benefiting from these deals. Suarez & Carroll strike partnership is a formidable. Dalglish is already calling them alongside Meireles & Gerrard the fantastic four. Torres, Drogba & Anelka have 281 goals between them. That says a lot. I think Chelsea shd go with a diamond with Anelka at the tip of the diamond behind the front 2. This weekend's match is going to be exciting.

  • Comment number 34.

    Great analysis by Shearer and some good observations by others. I'm a CFC fan, here's my two cents:

    1. Torres's problem in Liverpool has been the asset-stripping of the team, and the rising tide of poor replacements, which reached its tipping point when Xabi Alonso left. He's the kind of guy that lives on good midfield service, which is what he'll get from Malouda, Lampard, Essien et al (and which was denied him in our 2-0 trouncing of the scousers at Stamford Bridge last season). However, Kenny has his work cut out to fix the defence (they do need three centre backs) and midfield issues (Gerrard excepted, of course).
    2. Re. Liverpool's return to form, I suspect that the change of manager and tactics after Hodgson left was always going to reinspire the team after a protracted depression, but there are still structural weaknesses in LFC from the aforementioned asset stripping.
    3. Idle speculation, but I wonder if the "intimidation" Torres referred to was from Dalglish? Could it have been a last straw for Torres to hear "no man is bigger than the team" when he has shown outstanding (by EPL standards) patience with Liverpool's decline over the last season and a half? Remember, loyalty goes two ways...
    4. How can you say Anelka, winner of the Golden Boot during the 2008/09 season is not a goal scorer?
    5. Ancelotti (and Hiddink) have both experimented with a front two of Anelka/Drogba. Why not Droga/Torres? Indeed, what would be wrong with a 4-3-3 with Torres/Droga rotating on point? Just imagine bringing on Torres or Drogba at half time as an "impact player"....hmm..... :)

  • Comment number 35.

    weeksly it depends on how you look at who would you pick villa or drogba oi know wo i would pick, i know who destoryed barca and the player who socred over 100 goals in primer leauge the hardest leauge in thee world and i know how hard drogba works yes his better than villa. torres is not better than messi, as we know messi is the most talented play in this era after zidane, but i wouldnt be sure that he would be able to produce the kind of magic he does in la liga, i dotn thnk he will have good games such teams like stoke, blackburn, fulham.

    i also said the pairing would better not invidualy, the pairing of torres and drogba i far moe ruthless than messi and villa they are both good pairing but as i said i think it would be better, drogba is fast storng finsiher, cool on the ball and can hold up ply while torres can use skill pace his shooting is very good. and villa he has skill no pace but technically bettr than drogba so its just how i seeit.

    and the big thing i was going to talk about is the januray spending lol, the whole critics and choaches saying the clubs spent too much, i was shocked, look at barca their saying is improve the team each year and look real, they spent when the reccession started they spent quarter of a billion pound now that is huge no one in spain was saying this is outrages and that, this is football teams need to spend to improve in this country everything is "how could they" how much did they spend" this is outrages" thats how people in this country see it.

  • Comment number 36.

    It was two performances in the space of five days back in March 2009 that epitomised just how good a player Fernando Torres can be. If he's fully fit & fully motivated, you've got a player, a man, that can almost single handedly win games against two of the world's greatest club teams, Real Madrid & Manchester United.
    Many may consider that to be a ridiculous overstatement. But if anything, I wasn't even doing his contribution in the two afformentioned matches justice. He ('Jamie Redknapp literally') tore apart three, in some people's opinions, possibly four, of the top defenders in recent history. Fabio Cannavaro, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic & Pepe were all simply swept aside by a rampant Torres as Liverpool recorded 4-0 & 4-1 wins against the two European heavyweights.
    If Carlo Ancelotti has spent £50m of Roman Abramovich's money on that Torres, then it's definately money well spent. If.

  • Comment number 37.

    Shearer talking tactics. Huh. Please try at on MOTD as well please!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    One of the main isues still to be addressed at Liverpool is the lack of any width whatsoever. The main reason that they suddenly declined wasn't completely down to the loss of Alonso without an adequate replacement, although this played a big part, it was also down to the loss of Riera.

    Whilst he wasn't a top player by any means he offered gennuine width that created the space in the middle for Gerrard and Alonso to dictate play. This hasn't been replaced as Maxi wants to come inside all the time as does Kuyt, simply restricting the space in the middle of the park as well as their most creative midfielders in Gerrard and Meireles (sp?).

    Until this situation is addressed I don't think we will see Liverpool challenging for honors. I always thought that they would go for a player like Jarvis at Wolves on the left and move Johnson forward to the right wing. Whilst this might push Kuyt out the team initially he might get a run of games up front with Suarez.

  • Comment number 39.

    30. At 11:52am on 04 Feb 2011, FilbertStreetFan wrote:

    It will be intriguing how the two play together and how it will affect Liverpool's game.

    Carroll: On Sky last night they listed the top ten transfer fees of all time and to see his name on the list shows what a ridiculously large amount it was to pay. Ronaldo, Ibrahimobic, Kaka, Torres, Zidane, Figo, Crespo, Carroll, Villa and Buffon.------------------------

    What will happen now is that every jurno will talk about Carroll in terms of Zidane, Kaka and Ronaldo, talking him up to be a God while in effect the pressure will get to him and he could burn out before he is 28. Collymore was reckoned to be brilliant where is he? So was lee Sharpe, where is he? I think Andy Carroll has more in common as a footballer with these two than the 10 you listed.

  • Comment number 40.

    Agree with post 38, and I would say that thats what I see as really wrong with the Carroll transfer. Regardless of whether I think he's worth 35 million if Dalglish and Comolli see that potential in him then fair enough. But Liverpool undoubtedly do lack width as well as real depth in their squad. When they sold Rush they replaced him with a pelethora of players which greatly improved them, similarly Mourinho did this at Inter after they shipped Ibrahimovitch, to instant success. If Liverpool now have funds for Dalglish to bring more players in in the Summer then fair enough, but if they don't then wouldn't they have been better off getting Elmander as well as say Ashley Young and Edin Hazard or finally sortin out their left back situation. Their 11st eleven looks slightly improved now sure but their bench looks just as poor as it always did during Benitez's later years. We've seen at Chelsea, in this the first season they haven't had a descent bench just how much it affects performances over a season, and they're rescent Januaruy moves to remedy this. Can't help but think 'pool missed a trick here while trying to maintain their "big club" look.

  • Comment number 41.

    Of course Liverpool will miss Torres - when he's hot he's probably the best instinctive striker anywhere. But Dalglish is also right in that no one player is bigger than the team and a demoralised star striker cannot be good for confidence throughout the rest of the team.

    Liverpool have a history of selling their best players and moving on, as have teams like Man U and Arsenal.

    You have to accept on face value what Shearer is saying about Dalglish as a manager - he worked with him and he got a lot from the advice given.

    I'd like to think that Dalglish will spend more time at Melwood with Carroll and Suarez and if both players are receptive to this advice they should improve their game no end.

    Torres will probably have the game of his life on Sunday, score the winner and the press will concentrate on slaughtering liverpool for letting him go - hmm!

  • Comment number 42.

    someoneshouldgetdownthereandexplaintheoffsiderule 13#

    Seems like you totally missed the point with reference to my comment. I never mentioned playing two up front or any formation. I was talking more alongst the lines of having a second out and out striker should one get injured, as is the case at the moment. The same reason you may carry a spare tyer in the boot of your car, gives you peace of mind.
    It seems you completely comprehended that part of my comment wrong.

    Also, you seem to know very little about Suarez who is more than capable of playing out wide. A real all round attaking player.

    In fact, I think you have just supported my view that we really dont know what to expect from this new look Liverpool.

  • Comment number 43.

    @ #32 Paulo

    No Liverpool fans are saying that selling Torres is a good move for the club. Actually let me re-phrase that, no Liverpool fans with half a brain are saying that selling Torres is a good move.

    But what is the point on dwelling on it? There is nothing positive to gain from moping around feeling sad and sorry for ourselves. He has gone and there is nothing anybody can do about it, let's move on.

    We are always reminded about how Liverpool fans dwell on the past and play on past glories. They do this because they are proud of their history and rightly so. To dwell on the sale of Torres would be pointless. Yes he has played a small part in the history of Liverpool and will be forever remembered as one of the best players to play for the club.

    But that is now were Torres belongs, in past memories. Liverpool now move forward with a new front line who are tasked with bringing back the glory days that are so often recited by the fans.

    Torres was on outstanding player for Liverpool, on his day probably the best striker in world football. Chelsea have undoubtedly got themselves a great centre forward.

    However i cant help thinking that despite the focus and attention being on how much of a gamble the signing of Carroll is for £35m, the gamble of signing of an unrecognisable and recently injury prone Torres is just as big.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think the most important thing for Liverpool and their owners now is to invest in the summer. In Suarez and Carroll they have what could potentially be an excellent strike force. However, this Liverpool side is definitely missing 2 crucial players at a minimum and most likely needs 4 new additions.

    The best Benitez side was built on a strong core that recently has taken a step backwards with the loss of Alonso and Mascherano. However, the addition of Mereiles in the Gerrard role has certainly been a breath of fresh air. What Liverpool need is a holding midfielder like Alonso, and unfortuantely that isn't Lucas. My suggestion is Javi Martinez of Atletico Bilbao. Estimated cost 10-15million. At 22 he fits the Liverpool owners new ideology of investing in younger players.~

    The second crucial player to invest in is a Left-Wing back with the ability to give good delivery into the box. With the addition of Andy Carroll Liverpool have a great aerial threat, perhaps the best in the Premierleague on this seasons showing. Unfortunately I honestly cannot think of a left-back and would like some suggestions.

    With regards to two further additions, these aren't crucial but would be good, and are obviously the acquisition of two tricky wingers with pace, skill and the ability to cross.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Comment number 45.

    Excellent Blog

  • Comment number 46.

    24. At 11:11am on 04 Feb 2011, badefella wrote:
    35. At 12:07pm on 04 Feb 2011, badefella wrote:

    Ok, now go and tell mum & dad to buy you a subscription to Sky Sports "best league in the world" so that Murdoch and the Premier League "brand" can rip you off for life for their mediocre product, your intellect and mentality are perfect match for the kind of future customer they're after.

    Or, could you actually not be a child but a Sky employee?

  • Comment number 47.

    Great Article - I think, whilst very expensive, Kenny Dalglish has got two great players here. The thing I found must remarkable in this article is the diagram comparing Torres and Carroll passes - Torres did not complete one single succesful pass that was going forward.

  • Comment number 48.

    "Ok, now go and tell mum & dad to buy you a subscription to Sky Sports "best league in the world" so that Murdoch and the Premier League "brand" can rip you off for life for their mediocre product, your intellect and mentality are perfect match for the kind of future customer they're after.

    Or, could you actually not be a child but a Sky employee?"

    This stuff about a Sky conspiracy to big up the prem. in comparisson to la liga cracks me up. They own the rights to La Liga broadcast in this country as well! You wanna watch Spanish football instead Great, your still watching Sky.

    Perhaps the main reason the prem. is considered to be superior over here is that we're all well aware that Real Madrid have finished 1st or 2nd there for the last 4 years without progressing past the 1st knockout round of the champions league once! True Barca are one of the best teams in the world but theirs and Madrids miserly hoarding of nearly all the TV money from the other clubs has left they're league looking like a shambles with the third largest team having a budget comparable to Bkackpool this season.

  • Comment number 49.

    I'd just like to say how much I enjoy reading these new tactics blogs.

    It's interesting to read in-depth analysis at a time when so many pundits (Waddle, Savage etc) seem to think that 'passion' is the only thing a team needs. Tactics? Pah!

    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 50.

    @ #36 - Seemingly Norfolks Only Rhino

    You're observations are very one sided.

    Granted Torres was excellent in those games, as he has been in several others. But i could just as easily recite a dozen games were he has been well below par against defenders who were at the other end of the spectrum to the likes of Cannavaro, Vidic and Ferdinand, i.e. his performance against Wolves against Berra.

    Now i'm not slating Torres by any means; his good performances outweighed his bad significantly, but it is wrong to say £50m for Torres is money well spent based on two performances from last year.

    It is also ridiculous to insist that Torres 'single handedly' won these games. They were arguably the two best team performances Liverpool put in all season.

    For me Chelsea have got all the options you could possibly want in a forward line: pace, skill, strength, height, diversity, etc, however getting the right combination will be difficult for Ancelotti. Yes Torres, Drogba, Malouda and Anelka are world class players, but just being world class players does not mean you will automatically play well together, just ask Wanderlei Luxembourgo, Bernd Schuster, Juande Ramos, Carlos Queiroz et al.

  • Comment number 51.

    Comparing carroll and Torres this season is POINTLESS, Carroll loved playing for Toon, while Torres WASN'T INTERESTED IN PLAYING FOR LIVERPOOL!!!

  • Comment number 52.

    @8. At 09:03am on 04 Feb 2011, HotdogSalesman wrote:
    In my humble opinion Liverpool have done excellent business.

    Not only do I view the partnership of Suarez & Carroll as being far more potent than Torres - either with either of them or with anyone Liverpool already had - but Carroll is a far more involved player.

    Torres, after his first season when he took the league by surprise to an extent, has failed to reach the same heights again. Yes, there are the reasons (excuses?)such as injuries etc, but there are two more telling factors.

    For some time Torres has not looked totally happy (not even in the Spain setup) and has not performed at peak (again, not even in the Spain setup). Does any club really want or need a player who's heart is not in it? It seemed clear for a long time that Torres did not really believe Liverpool capable of winning titles, or making it back into CL, and that is what he wanted. He seemed unwilling to totally committing himself to making that happen.

    The second factor is one where all the Torres fans and Liverpool faithful will no doubt shout me down. I see Torres as a very one-dimensional player. He has pace, and is a great finisher when on form, but offers nothing else. If teams learned to counteract his pace (so he never had the space and time to pick his finish) or to cut off his supply, he was effectively out of the game. Very seldom would you see him grafting to make things happen for the team. I think the diagrams of passes made (both succesful and uncompleted) and the touch map show this clearly.

    Torres is a good striker, and a great finisher if presented with a chance, but nowhere near the superstar the media (and Liverpool supporters) have always made him out to be.

    I said from the start that Liverpool have done the better business than Chelsea by far, and I stand by that.

    I agree with you. Torres is a one-dimensional player, totally. Once you cut off his supply and don't give him space to use his pace, that's it.

    Carroll and Suarez on the other hand offer a more dangerous proposition. One thing Liverpool fans will learn to their delight and the rest of us to our utmost chagrin is that Suarez is very good at set pieces especially taking free-kicks. Better than anyone Liverpool currently have. That's another reason why Drogba is so good - dangerous from set pieces, good at defending them!

  • Comment number 53.

    I agree with you. Torres is a one-dimensional player, totally. Once you cut off his supply and don't give him space to use his pace, that's it.

    Carroll and Suarez on the other hand offer a more dangerous proposition.


    Not sure about that - Torres has pace and skill but can also score headers and finish in the box. He was pretty much the complete striker until injuries and disillusion took their toll. Liverpool have done the right thing by moving on but £35m on Carrol is a big gamble this early in his career and South Americans have a very mixed record in the premiership. Torres has already shown what he can do at the highest level.

    I think Liverpool would rather have a fit, on form and commited Torres that what they have now. Sadly for them that was no longer an option.

  • Comment number 54.

    44. At 12:46pm on 04 Feb 2011, Shwest19 wrote:

    I agree with this post I thnk the next big step on the way back for Liverpool will be a left back and 2 wingers. I could never understand the fans reaction to getting Konchesky and they essentially hounded him out of the club.

    At the end of the day he was a left back that was available, admittedly not the best but he should have been a steady signing until the Januray window. Lets not forget at the time Insua was going on loan and Aurelio's contract had been allowed to lapse. Konchesky was a panic buy, but a necessary one and Aurelio was resigned as cover when fit. At this point you are left with playing Johnson at left back (he isn't that good a right back!!), surely Konchesky was a necessary signing and deserved some backing as just that?

    The other problem areas are the wings and I think pushing Johnson to right wing and buying a regular left winger that has chalk on his boots will be a massive step forward. It makes the signing of Carroll a bit more bizarre as you don't have anyone of pedigree to supply him from the wings which is what he thrives on as a striker.

  • Comment number 55.

    Just like to add my agreement to those who are pointing out that we are being to premiership focused here. Barcelona are (easily) the best team in Europe currently. Indeed I am unsure any Premier League teams would defeat an in form Real team. We shouldnt get too blinkered and think only teams from the Premier League are worth considering.

    For what it's worth, I am a Liverpool fan, and realise that losing Torres isn't ideal. However two key factors stand out. Torres has picked up a lot injuries with us. We never had the squad to deal with this. Chelsea do so he will probably get more rest which will help him in terms of fitness. Secondly, I would argue that the notion the Torres will suddenly give all action displays now he is at Chelsea to be flawed. Torres is a predator, a finisher of the highest order. He doesn't not play well with his back to goal and doesn't beaten several men and finish with any regularity. I think his fairly poor goal record for Spain (see Villa's comparatively) bears this out. Chelsea must get the ball behind defences to see the best of Torres.

    I also believe the Carroll transfer has taken pressure of Luis Suarez, the more valuable of the two new liverpool signings. He is an out and out finisher also but with more to his game. He doesn't have torres pace, but has enough. It is he who I look forward to seeing develop most, although i do believe Carroll will be an asset also.

    Realistically both teams have done fairly well out of the deals if expectations are matched.

  • Comment number 56.


    Left back, defensive midfielder, 2 wingers & a goalkepper (Reina will be off) will all be needed next summer.

    If I was a Liverpool fan this is who I would want:

    G - Neuer (Schalke)
    LB - Lahm (Bayern)
    DM - Martinez (Ath Bilbao)
    LW - Podolski (Koln)
    RW - Sanchez (Udinese)

    What do you think?

  • Comment number 57.

    This is an interesting article but it fails to point out the risks the respective managers are taking in regards to the likelyhood of injuries. Carroll is the youngest at 22 but is currently injured. Torres is the oldest and has a history of injury. Suarez is 24 and doesn't have a history of injury, albiet in a less physical league. Adding a 26 year old, injury prone player to an already aging squad is not how I would build a team unless I was only trying to sell shirts. Also if I were in the hot seat at LFC, I would have waited to see how Carroll responded to the injury, how quickly he was back on the pitch and whether he got reinjured or not before buying the player. He won't get Liverpool into a CL place, Liverpool wouldn't have been relegated without him and his price wouldn't have been higher in the summer (despite a possible bidding war).

  • Comment number 58.

    @8 and 52:

    I don't know if you call him a one-dimentional player or not but Torres is a goalscorer, certainly more than just pace. I'll agree that he doesn't defend, he can't hold the ball up and bring players in and doesn't contribute many assists. But he will score goals in all kinds of ways. I can't count the number of times I watched him get the ball in a non-dangerous area, with defenders well positioned, with no support and still get a goal out of nothing. 65 goals in 102 league games says all you need to know about Torres. Gather a list of other players with such a goals to PL games ratio and you will have a pretty impressive list of players.

  • Comment number 59.

    i think it should be how to fill the chasm that torres has left, rather than void.

    as for torres being a 'one-dimensional finisher', i think the best allround striker in world football would be a better description.

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm sure Shearer has a fair idea how dalglish might try and use a big lumbering forward who isn't too bad on the deck either, so haven't read the blog properly tbh

    I am finding the coverage of the whole dalglish/torres/suarez thing unbelievably sickly though I have to say. The BBC website (and no doubt all its football programmes over the weekend and beyond) are like a blank canvas for anyone who wants to to kiss liverpool's backsides at the moment, and this "big bad hicks and gillette/torres sleighting the legendary wholesome innocents" is increasingly hard to stomach.

  • Comment number 61.

    Looking at how Chelsea lined up at Sunderland you've either got to stick with that drop Kalou and leave Malouda out of the side or drop Anelka for Malouda and change things around a bit with a 442 diamond formation that Mourinho used when he had to find room for Shevchenko. Evidence suggests Ramires can play to the right in this system with Malouda to the left and Essien at the anchor with Lampard bombing on and essentially full backs providing width. That's in the short-medium term. Longer you suspect Drogba wont stay as formidable for too much longer in which case a return to the 433 with Malouda and Anelka either side of Torres may be the best way to get the best out of Torres and Lampard.

    Liverpool seems a more clear cut 433 with Kuyt and Suarez flanking Carroll with Gerrard, Meireles and Lucas forming the midfield. The likes of Maxi and Joe Cole are the biggest losers of the changearound in striking personnel. An orthadox would involve axing Gerrard, the increasingly effective Meireles or Lucas who is the only defensive presence. God knows how they ever thought Adam would figure.

    Carroll doesn't need to be prolific as Suarez and the midfield carry a goal threat.

  • Comment number 62.

    I thought Liverpool adapted quite well by playing three at the back against Stoke, a team who have caused them lots of problems in their last few meetings with a very physical (brutal?) approach. Newcastle (with Carroll) had similar success with a similar approach. Too many times They were bullied off the ball and they need some physical presence to stop that happening.

    I thought the selling of John Arne Riise was the first step towards decline for Liverpool. He's the best left back they'd had in a long time, decent defender, able to get forward and a powerful shot. Filling that role has been a problem ever since. Having Glen Johnson playing there just shows what a problem it is, although I think Martin Kelly is probably, right now, a better choice at right back.

    Alonso, Mascherano - two more top quality players let go, to what purpose?

    I do think that Meireles has proven to be a good signing although I was very doubtful at first. He seems to have now adapted to the league and I'm sure we haven't seen the best of him yet. Poulsen? Just the opposite and I've never been convinced by Lucas and he's had plenty of opportunity to prove me wrong. Having said which I thought he gave a decent account of himself against Stoke barring some wayward passing.

    There's been some criticism of Dirk Kuyt in the above comments, something I simply don't understand. If there is a harder working footballer in this league or any other I've yet to see them. He is a great team player and, although I would like to see him on the scoresheet a little more often, I think it would be very harsh to call that a weakness in his game.

    I do feel a little sorry for Konchesky - he seems to have ended up being a scapegoat for the Hodgson era. Having said which you would hope that any player leaving a club, even after such a brief stay, could look back on at least ONE occasion where they'd had a good game. He, unfortunately, can't.

    Mr. Dalglish has given younger players their chances and Shelvey but more especially Martin Kelly have shown that they are "fit to wear the shirt" which is much more than can be said of some of the no-hopers who've turned out this season. In the first quarter of the season they looked like a very possible candidate for relegation and rightly so. They were VERY poor, no heart, no organization and got the results that deserves.

    There is no doubt whatsoever that it is in wide areas that Liverpool are lacking. Carroll will undoubtedly give some much needed physical presence upfront but there is more to his game than that. Suarez is a very skillful player and IF (and it is an if) they can get service from either midfield or wide I think it has the potential to be a fabulous partnership.

    As for the money the net cost is around eight million and although Torres is a world class player he's certainly not shown much of it this season. On balance I think I'd rather have two players who want to play for the club rather than one who doesn't want to, no matter how good he can be on his day. If your heart's not in it are you really going to give your best?

    I understand his decision to leave. He is a great player and he should be trying to play at the top level, Champions League, World Cup. He certainly didn't join Liverpool to be struggling to be in midtable surrounded by substandard players. Good luck to him but I REALLY hope Chelsea DON'T get into the Champions League this season! I also hope that the new signing who sets this Sunday's game alight is Suarez.

    Bitter? Me? Never.

  • Comment number 63.

    I'm sure Shearer has a fair idea how dalglish might try and use a big lumbering forward who isn't too bad on the deck either, so haven't read the blog properly tbh

    I am finding the coverage of the whole dalglish/torres/suarez thing unbelievably sickly though I have to say. The BBC website (and no doubt all its football programmes over the weekend and beyond) are like a blank canvas for anyone who wants to to kiss liverpool's backsides at the moment, and this "big bad hicks and gillette/torres slating the legendary wholesome innocents" is increasingly hard to stomach.

  • Comment number 64.

    @Wayne Rooney - The missing link -

    I could never understand the fans reaction to getting Konchesky and they essentially hounded him out of the club.


    I rate Konchesky, but he never had one good game for Liverpool and with the team not performing he did unfairly get a lot of stick.

    I think Kenny might have been able to turn that around if he was given the chance, but after his mum called our fans "Scouse Scum" I don't think there was anyway back for him.

  • Comment number 65.

    Very good blog. Analytical and informative. 5 out of 5.
    I want to agree with no. 5 comment.
    Suarez is a player I have admired for a while and as an Arsenal fan i wished Wenger could splash out on him. He is young, quick, technically sound with a fantastic predatory instinct. He scores goals with every part of his body. I believe he is worth the money paid. Carroll though is a bit of a gamble at £35million. He is young, rugged and has a good left foot but for 35 big ones, I am not entirely sure. I hope for Dalglish and Liverpool sake he does very well.
    Torres coming to Chelsea presents a little headache for Ancelotti. I honestly don't know how he'll fit in the front 3 with Torres without changing his formation. I am not sure Torres can play with Drogba too. They are dissimilar and I have always rated Drogba much higher. He (Drogba) can make things happen single-handedly. Will he replace Drogba with Torres? Will Drogba be leaving? or is it Anelka or Malouda.? I can't see Torres replacing any of these guys directly. Ancelotti has a lot of rebuildng to do with aging players. It will be difficult to get it right without spending a lot of money unless they (Chelsea) are happy to through a barren period. I don't wish them much luck though lol.

  • Comment number 66.

    Am I A £35m Striker?

    I scored 24 goals helping my side win promotion back to the Premier League aged just 22.In my first season in the top flight I had 15 goals by the end of Jan. Including a goal against the reigning champions, away at Arsenal and in a home win vs Liverpool. My form earned me an England call-up and debut in a friendly....Am a I £35m striker? No I am Michael Ricketts, February 2002.

    Could just end up being an over inflated panic buy.

  • Comment number 67.

    Oh and by the way, we can all see how bad Roy Hodgson was as a manager. How has Dalglish turned the Liverpool team's fortunes around without new players and in such a short time? A little bit of charisma and tactical nous I would say. Now all the English press can stop blaming Rafa Benitez for the 'poor' squad he left behind. At the very least he left them a £50million striker, right?

  • Comment number 68.

    Haha Liverpool fans always looking on the bright side, loosing one of your two world class players isnt good business then wasting around 70% of that fee on Carroll who has half a seasons PL experiance and is injured currently is laughable to say the least. Oh and also Carroll's main attribute is his ability in the air, unless ive missed something they have no wingers or players with the ability to put in a decent cross. I accept Suarez looks like a good buy but like Chelsea reverting to a conventional 4-4-2 to encorporate Carroll and Suarez as well as Torres and Drogba in their respective teams will leave both teams alot more vaunerable at the back. Happy days if your Arsenal or United fans!

  • Comment number 69.

    Roman has dug himself a hole here with the Torres signing. In 2yrs Drogba will be past it. To replace him with someone who is already world class which is what Roman wants is going to cost him 60 or 70m. If Sturridge gets a chance then he could replace Anelka, if not then another 20m there. In 4yrs when Torres has lost his pace Chelsea will need another world class striker which is going to be another 70m. Plus Lampard and Terry will need replacing. Probably 100m there as well. Plus the likes of Malouda and Ashley Cole. Another 50m. It's gonna be expensive to replace that team considering he just wants to buy the best players rather than build a team. I think David Luiz is the best signing he's ever done. One player who won't have to be replaced for 10yrs.

  • Comment number 70.

    @ Cantona86

    You're looking way too far into the future, chelsea need to win things NOW - no point speculating with ifs, buts and maybes what will happen in 10 years! Chelsea have a world class replacement for Drogba, who is 32 and will probably go at the end of the season, and if Torres helps chelsea win the champions league every penny will have been worth it.

  • Comment number 71.

    I wonder if Torres will follow the lead of Michael Owen - jumping ship just before a golden age?
    Go back to autumn: a disliked manager, pessimism, and defeat against Blackpool, 19th in the league.

    Now Kenny is in charge, two huge future players are in for the price of one, who did not want to stay anyway. Only those who want to play should be here, as Kenny more or less said. Isn't that the Liverpool of old?

    Compared to last autumn, I can't imagine any better situation than the one today.

  • Comment number 72.

    Sorry for delay in posting but has been a busy day elsewhere.

    Lots of you are asking whether Liverpool have the width to take advantage of Carroll's aerial talents. It's true, Liverpool don't have many out and out wingers but Gerrard is very good at pulling into pockets of space in wider positions between opposition midfield and defence and whipping balls into the box. As an example, when Liverpool beat Blackburn 2-1 at Anfield earlier in the season he put in loads of great crosses but no-one was getting on the end of them. Carroll would. Kelly also looks like a good threat from wide but who do Liverpool have on the left?

    Also, in reply to adb no. 17, in my view the importance of formations is over-rated. As someone once said, players win games, not formations but they do provide a template which the players can work from, more so defensively. In attack the more unpredictable a team can be, the harder it is to defend against so good teams will not stick to 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 or any other combination, they will attack more instinctively.

  • Comment number 73.

    Chelsea and Liverpool can both benefit from these deals, immediately for Chelseabut eventually for Liverpool

    Chelsea will play Ivanovic at right back to shore up defensively as Ferreira and Bosingwa have been poor and i expect both to be moved on in the summer. Alex, Terry and Luiz will rotate between themselves for the 2 CB roles with Cole at left back

    Midfield is the dilemma in my opinion, Lampard and Essien are certainties and then Mikel or Ramires, i think Carlo will persist with Mikel although he can lose concentration for a player of his position and i would prefer Ramires at CM with Essien holding.

    I would drop Malouda for Torres and play Torres and Drogba as a pair with Anelka sitting in the gap between midfield and attack linking the play, something we have not had since Gudjohnsen left. Malouda has been below par after his stunning season last year and with a front two of Didier and Fernando Chelsea look frightening, both have pace, power, the ability to run the channels and win aerial balls and are excellent finishers and Anelka can be the catalyst to providing ammunition to them supported by the late runs of Lampard and the energy of Ramires or Essien

    As for Liverpool this would be my team for them to play with everyone fit until the summer at least

    - - - - - - - - - - Reina - - - - - - - - -
    Kelly - - - Carragher - Skrtel - - - - Agger
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Johnson - - Gerrard - - Meireles - - Aurelio
    - - - - - - Suarez - - - Carroll - - - - -

    this way liverpool add defensive stability to their midifled and both wingers are wingbacks with a good cross and atatcking ability but better defensive attributes than most midfield players, alternastively Kuyt in for Skrtel, Agger pushed inside, Kelly switched sides and Kuyt wide right and Maxi or Cole in for Aurelio, i ave been highly impressed with Kelly and would love him to join Chelsea but hes a great prospect

    Newcastle are the main losers in this window, Carroll was thei outlet to attack and they will struggle for goals in my opinion as i dont think Ameobi, Best and Ranger have the necessary firepower to keep them at their lofty heights, if they survive then it willbe interesting to see who they buy in the summer

  • Comment number 74.

    Surely Fabio Aurelio has a case for playing left-wing, a position that hasn't been replaced since the depature of Albert Riera. He has a great left foot and can whip in some good crosses for the likes of Suarez and Carroll to feed of. I'm not sure if Agger can play left back but he should be able to, he won't be able to dart down the flanks but that'll be made up by Aurelio, Johnson and to an extent Kelly on opposite flanks providing Liverpool with width. Some successful teams, Barcelona being an example employ one attacking full back and one defensive (Alves and Abidal).

    Possible Liverpool formation:





  • Comment number 75.

    The Torres we see from now to the end of the season will be the Torres that Liverpool fans didn't want to see leave! Unfortunately for us, we have had to put 'missing' posters up for the last eighteen months!

    Can't wait for Carroll's debut, I reckon he will be a fantastic signing and will prove Kenny to be the truely brilliant manager us Liverpool fans know he is!

  • Comment number 76.

    Facts are facts, Carol is an up and coming English Striker with a better (current) goal record than Torres. Liverpool sold Torres for £50 million, Babel for £8 million and bought Carol for £35 million, they also bought Suarez (spelling) for £22.5 million. Carol before injury in top form, Suarez in Europe in top form, Torres unfortunately out of form. One out of form (world class striker out for £50 Million, two potential proven scorers in for £57.5 million, I make that a profit of £0.5 million. I am an avid Everton supporter of some 55 years.

  • Comment number 77.

    These Chelsea fans know how to make a new song for a player don't they.

    In the spirit of all football fans, please don't moderate.

  • Comment number 78.

    @ no.66 nicknack1

    LOVE IT!!!!! Memories of Michael Ricketts playing for England... he's worth at least £40m these days isn't he?

  • Comment number 79.

    Torres has never been the best striker in the world. The only reason people think that is that they overrate the PL. Villa has always been better than him. Better at the euros, much better at the world cup, better for Valencia and better for Barcelona. Lots of strikers are at a similar level too (lots of league goals, a few good European performances).

  • Comment number 80.

    Couple of points
    Mr Alistair - quite right, players of this apparent ability should be sorting it out for themselves, it's amazing what a bit of moving after passing the ball can do

    twinklebathat - that is the crux, the very best footballers are not playing in the PL, Villa is one of them

    Someone else was talking about how much Chelsea will need to spend in the years ahead - United have spent huge sums and will continue to do so, Spurs would if they could, City....well. They're all spending money. As for Arsenal, who knows

  • Comment number 81.

    Good blog, like the statistics...
    Torres was always gonna leave Liverpool after the 2009/10 season. He's only shown occasional glimpses of his prevuios self since then. Just hope suarez and carroll can gel quickly, but when they do, I think it will be a great partnership. Love king kenny to get a full time contract, because if things keep going the way they've been going, he will totally deserve it :)

  • Comment number 82.

    As a Liverpool supporter I can see a lot of potential in a Suarez/Carroll partnership, either as a front 2, part of a front 3 or Suarez in the hole behind Carroll, I expect we'll see every variation before it becomes clear what works best.

    Agree with what several people have said about width in the team, Liverpool have good players through the middle, but our wide men like to cut inside rather than ping over the sort of crosses Carroll would really thrive on. Kenny's been here before, of course. When he signed John Aldridge to replace Ian Rush he realised that Aldo worked better getting onto the end of crosses than Rush had, so he went out and bought... John Barnes.

    Can't wait to see what summer might bring!

  • Comment number 83.

    On the Chelsea front two front, a potential front two of Torres and Drogba reminds me of the fantastic Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnson. If it comes anywhere close, it is very exciting times indeed for Chelsea.

    Through Zola (Anelka) into the mix and you've got an awesome front line.

    Given how Anelka played deeper and more central at Sunderland, it wouldn't surprise me if that's how they line up tomorrow.

  • Comment number 84.

    It's not a very surprising conclusion that Dalglish is the one taking the bigger gamble- his club have shelled out about 7 million, Ancelotti's about 70

  • Comment number 85.

    Comment 70 that's a massive if don't you think Chelsea team of oaps

  • Comment number 86.

    Comment 19 hits the nail on the head - Carroll could be very much the new Duncan Ferguson, or Joe Jordan at best.

    Is he as good as other young strikers like Bendtner or even Chamakh, who cost almost nothing?

    It's a very big gamble for an unproven player ...

    ... but if I'm wrong and Carroll scores a hatful of goals for Liverpool, he can always sign for Chelsea in the next transfer window if he wants European football

  • Comment number 87.

    If Dalglish can make a half decent pairing out of Sutton & Shearer, he will have no trouble with Lou & Andy.

  • Comment number 88.

    Chelsea's great owner and benefactor seems once again to have taken a key decision on Chelsea transfers. Did Ancelotti really want Torres? Considering that the main reasons for Chelsea's recent stuttering form seem to revolve more around the fading Lampard and Terry and not Drogba, Kalou, Anelka and Malouda, it's difficult to believe that Ancelotti would have prioritised Torres' signing. I'm getting a sense of 'deja vu' with Mourinho and Schevchenko. I'm also assuming that Torres hasn't lost pace and is not injury prone which is quite a big assumption.

    The more you analyse this the more you come to the conclusion that Liverpool have been dealt a huge stroke of luck. With the sale of flop Ryan Babel and the record-breaking transfer of Torres, they have bought Suarez and Carrol for a net outlay of zero pounds. Also I believe that Dalglish is only moderately disappointed at losing Torres. He could easily have done an Alex Ferguson and said the player goes nowhere under 70m pounds and sidelined him but he's seen an opportunity and grabbed it.

    Have Liverpool paid too much for Carroll? Probably a bit, but how much would one expect to pay for a 22-year-old England capped centre-forward? Prices must surely start at around 25m in today's market.

    Liverpool still lack fast wide players but I bet they'll be rectifying that in the summer. Kenny Dalglish seems to know already what he wants and Ancelotti is a great coach too, so I think Sugar Daddy is still calling the shots on what should be the manager's prerogative.

  • Comment number 89.

    Am I A £35m Striker?

    I scored 24 goals helping my side win promotion back to the Premier League aged just 22.

    Then in my first season in the top flight I had bagged an impressive 15 goals by the end of January. Including a goal against the reigning champions, away at Arsenal and in a home win over Liverpool. My form earned me an England call-up and my debut in an international friendly.

    Am a I £35m striker?

    No I am Michael Ricketts, February 2002.


  • Comment number 90.

    Of course you clever people fail to mention that Michael Ricketts only ever had 45 minutes for England and then never scored again for Bolton in the last 4 months of the season.

    Then he moved to Middlesbrough and scored 4 times in 38 games.

    Then he moved to Leeds and never scored in 25 league games.

    If you all think Andy Carroll is going to go down that path, then I suggest you follow another sport.

  • Comment number 91.

    Oh and Andy Carroll got a standing ovation at Wembley when he was subbed last November. Best England player that night and it was his debut.

  • Comment number 92.

    @ 85 - bit lazy

    Luiz, ivanovic, Aanholt, Bruma,
    ramires, essien, mceachran, kakuta, Zhirkov, mikel
    Torres, sturridge, kalou

    how many of these players are oaps?

    even cole and terry are just 30!

  • Comment number 93.

    I think it was all too clear that Liverpool had become a bit too dependent on Torres, so maybe him going is a good thing for the club, they can return to a team mentality and do what they used to do, hem teams in and batter them into submission. They couldn't do that with Torres because everything they did was focussing on getting him into the game. United were the same when they had Van Nistelrooy, when he went United looked a much better and more cohesive team.

  • Comment number 94.

    I have to laugh at all the chelsea fans on here saying Caroll is overpriced having just paid £50m for el sulkio.
    He may be a great player but not that great.

  • Comment number 95.

    I don't know why people have us pegged down to play 442. Or 4411. We've played 4231/433 for most games, with the previous game being a radical (In this league, mind you) 3511. It's very hard to really peg down what formation we play sometimes. I don't think the players really knew against Stoke! We've become very fluid, as all our CMs can attack and defend. Kuyt, Maxi, Suarez etc are all versatile and can move around, while Carroll will be the focal point. Johnson and Kelly will provide the crosses until we can get a proper winger.

    I reckon we will play a 433 with Suarez on the left or right, and Kuyt or a new winger on the other side. The rest of the team picks itself.

  • Comment number 96.

    Torres was past his best. He has not performed well for Spain for some time either and I believe he has lost a yard of pace.

    He is not up to the lone strikers role any more and wants to go to Chelsea so he can goal hang rather than make goals.

    I don't think Liverpool have done bad business at all with what they have bought in remembering the outlay is really only 1.8million.

    With Kenny as their mentor they will be a lethal pair in short time once they get playing together regularly.

    Torres was never worth £50million and Suarez scored 49 goals in 48 games last season in a 2 striker system. Dutch league or not that record is incredible and Torres has never done anything to match it!! Suarez scored more goals at the world cup than Torres too despite going out a round earlier.

    What we payed for Carol was determined by what we got for Torres and vice versa. Nevertheless it really cost us nothing for two 22 yr who will arguably hold their value the way football transfers are going these days so again good business.

  • Comment number 97.

    Carroll- a waste of 35 million. Torres- a waste of 50 million.

    Two desperate clubs, run by idiots. Some of the comments above regarding Torres make me laugh. He hasn't cracked a light for a year now, either for Spain or Liverpool. In any other line of business, he would have been sacked, and any court in the land would have chucked out his unfair dismissal claim.

    As for Carroll, players like him sum up all that is wrong with English football. For 35 million, I would expect a lot more in terms of ability, the potential to become one of the best in the world. Anyone who thinks that Carroll has the potential to become a world beater really needs treatment, in my opinion.

  • Comment number 98.

    i can understand why alan sheare has wrote mainly about caroll as all pundits know is whats happening in this country and either dont know that much about suarez or are quoting what they have read.
    suarez is a fantsastic footballer who has a hunger and appetite to score goals and work hard for the team. at ajax he done everthing so performing for a big club he will be used to. as at all big clubs regardless of what country you are in that club must always win.
    waken up alan to the rest of the world and poke your head outside of the premier league door

  • Comment number 99.

    90. At 6:19pm on 05 Feb 2011, TheArmBand wrote:
    Of course you clever people fail to mention that Michael Ricketts only ever had 45 minutes for England and then never scored again for Bolton in the last 4 months of the season.

    Then he moved to Middlesbrough and scored 4 times in 38 games.

    Then he moved to Leeds and never scored in 25 league games.

    If you all think Andy Carroll is going to go down that path, then I suggest you follow another sport.
    - - - - - - - - -

    Whilst it is unlikely that Carroll will slip out the limelight that quickly, It only goes to show how quickly mediocre English players are hyped up way beyong their ability.

  • Comment number 100.

    91. At 6:24pm on 05 Feb 2011, TheArmBand wrote:
    Oh and Andy Carroll got a standing ovation at Wembley when he was subbed last November. Best England player that night and it was his debut.

    - - - - - - - - -

    In a game where a mediocre England team were totaly outclassed by a promising French team. Carroll was perhaps the best of a very mediocre bunch!


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