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Monday 20 November 2017

Carroll: I’m just getting into my stride

ANDY CARROLL has vowed to save his Anfield career amid fresh claims that Liverpool are prepared to offload the £35million striker.



A year on from his British record transfer from Newcastle, the striker is unable to dispel the view that his days on Merseyside are numbered. But the 22 year-old insists he has no wish to quit Liverpool after just 12 months.

It emerged over the weekend that Manchester City were sounded out about whether they would be prepared to swap Carlos Tevez for Carroll – a complete non-starter as far as City and the Argentine striker are concerned.

Denied

Liverpool have privately denied suggestions anyone representing their club made such a proposal, but they have yet to make a public response and Carroll will certainly be seeking reassurance about the validity of the claims.

Manager Kenny Dalglish has consistently expressed his support for Carroll and offered more encouraging words after his performance against Manchester United on Saturday. That has not halted a growing belief that an offer for Carroll anywhere close to the £35million Liverpool paid would be welcomed at Anfield.

The emphatic refusal of City to entertain a swap demonstrates the difficulty Liverpool would face getting back a large chunk of that excessive fee. Earlier this month, a return to Newcastle was mooted for just £10m, well below what Liverpool would accept. Again, Liverpool denied contact with the club, but it has fanned the flames.

Carroll, though, insisted he wants to fight on at Anfield. “I love it here,” he said. “All the lads are great with me in training and away from the training ground everyone has been great with me as well.

“I think I'm just getting into my stride now.

“Everyone is getting used to how I play and I'm getting used to everyone else but everyone is helping me and now I just need to get going.”

Asked if he was unhappy at Liverpool, Carroll replied: “No, not at all. The club has been great with me and I'm enjoying it here.

“Everyone is backing me and helping me along the way. I'm just here. I've signed a contract here and this is the team I'm playing for.”

Carroll should have been enjoying one of his better weekends since moving to Liverpool. His flicked header enabled Dirk Kuyt to score the 88th-minute winner against United, securing Liverpool a fifth-round home tie with Brighton next month.

“I thought I did well but I've just got to keep on going and keep working on it and then it will come,” he said.

“Obviously it was nice to get an assist. Winning in midweek and getting to the final and then Man United coming here, beating them and getting through, it's a great feeling. It was disappointing last week against Bolton and we needed to put that right.

“We did that. We've had two great wins back-to- back and now we need to carry that form on to Wolves on Tuesday night and then to Tottenham next week.”

Struggled

Despite more encouraging reviews against United, he has struggled at Anfield since arriving injured a year ago.

He was signed after an impressive start to last season – not least when he outmuscled Liverpool during one of his best Newcastle games – but has not reached the same heights.

He has been unable to adapt to a style of football which relies on pace, movement and a good first touch and he has posed as many tactical problems for his manager as his opponents. There have also been persistent questions about his fitness levels.

With the transfer window closing tomorrow tonight, there is little prospect of Liverpool receiving an acceptable bid and Dalglish would never sanction a deal which would reduce his attacking options.

Although Luis Suarez will return from his eight-game suspension against Spurs next weekend, Liverpool have been trying to sign another striker having struggled for goals in their top-four pursuit.

It is expected Liverpool will review the Carroll situation in the summer, although if he is sold it is inevitable the club will suffer a significant loss given his dip in valuation.

Tevez's advisers insist there was no attempt from Liverpool to sound out if the South American would be prepared to move. If they had, such a suggestion would have been rebuffed anyway.

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