Do We Actually Need Andy Carroll
Yesterday we witnessed the type of football that has been missing from Anfield for several years. There had of course been indications that it had been on its way during a couple of matches played towards the end of last season. These were the matches against Manchester United and Fulham where we witnessed at first hand the type of team and football that Kenny had in mind.
Since that day of course Kenny has been very active in the transfer market and has brought in Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam, Jose Enrique and Jordan Henderson. It also looks as though Sebastian Coates will join the team as soon as his work permit has been approved. Craig Bellamy in my mind is still classed as a major rumour as all the indications this morning are that he will join Tottenham. We must also not forget Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll who joined the squad in January who had to play alongside a lot of the dead wood that thankfully have either been moved on or demoted to the reserves. So we now had two teams in fact - one that consisted of old players and one that consisted of the new recruits.
To get them to knit together and try out different styles of play, the club used the pre -season and although there were doubts that they had really had enough playing time together, yesterday put a lot of people's fears to bed, but also opened up a new field of debate - DO WE REALLY NEED ANDY CARROLL.
It was Liverpool's second home game of the session and with Bolton being the opposition the expectation of the supporters was extremely high. We had after all drawn with Sunderland and won last week at the Emirates. A win that told everyone connected to football that unless something changes quickly Arsenal are in serious trouble this season. Bolton though can match anyone on the day and there was absolutely no way they were going to go away quietly, or so they thought.
The match started with Liverpool immediately taking command of the game. The pass and move style of football was immediately in evidence and it was wonderful to watch. The display from Dirk kuyt, Charlie Adam and Luis Suarez, left everyone on the edge of their seats, as the ball was weaved in and out of the Bolton players with very little effort. How they never scored earlier than they did is absolutely amazing but as the clock hit the fifteen minute mark, Jose Enrique had picked up a ball and sent it flying towards Luis Suarez, who was being covered by Gary Cahill. This of course did not deter him and after a few moments of fancy footwork, sent the ball towards the goal. It was palmed away by Jaaskelainen, only to fall into the path of Dirk Kuyt who sensed that Jordan Henderson was lurking, sent the ball towards him and seconds later a fantastic ball, hit the back of the net.
Liverpool was now one up and rather than slow down and sit back, they continued in their quest to improve the score line with play that left everyone in awe of what they were witnessing on the pitch. It was a throwback to the football of the late 60's to the 80's and Anfield was rocking. The Kop were in full voice and the noise was getting louder with the Suarez song rocking around the ground time after time.
Bolton did try to pull one back in the first half when Chris Eagles picked up a volley and sent it flying straight into Pepe Reina's hands. They had a further chance after players from both teams were replaced due to injury. Martin Kelly left the pitch to be replaced by Skrtel due to a suspected slight hamstring pull and Bolton's Mark Davies came on for Muamba, who was not really functioning after being up all night with a sick baby. It was Mark Davies who then gave the Bolton supporters a sense of hope with a great run towards the goal but the final kick did not even trouble Pepe Reina.
Liverpool quickly regained the upper hand and it was only fate that decided Dirk was not going to get his shot into the goalmouth. The teams movement though continued in the same vein and as Lee Probert blew the half time whistle, the supporters began to wonder if it would be a repeat of the Sunderland performance, where they had the upper hand in the first half but their form in the second half was totally different and after losing their command of the game it ended in a draw.
Twenty two minutes later, that worry was put to bed when Skrtel steamed in with a beautiful and unstoppable header that hit the back of the net. With the Kop and Kenny still celebrating, ninety seconds later Charlie Adam picked up a ball and after steaming past Reo-Coker, hit the ball superbly and it found the back of the net. Liverpool was now three up and coasting.
Play continued for a short time and then Kenny made his final two substitutions for the afternoon, taking off Jordan Henderson and Luis Suarez, both of whom received the standing ovation that they so richly deserved. They were replaced by Andy Carroll and Maxi Rodrigeux. Now Maxi did what he does best and kept the play going as best as he could and it immediately showed as he tried to score but failed.
Andy though is an enigma. You put him on the pitch and the pattern of play completely changes with the rest of the team appearing to lose their understanding. I will be honest here, when I say, he has either got to up his game or change because; they perform a lot better without him.
The game came to a close with Jamie making an uncharacteristic mistake. He turned his ankle slightly and as he slipped Bolton took the bait and the ball landed in the net. The game finished and Liverpool, after what can only be described as a spellbinding performance finished the winners.
We must also give a massive amount of credit to Lucas, because his performances in midfield have just got better and better. Today he was absolutely fantastic and Stevie G, who was watching from the stands, must really be wondering if he will ever regain his place.
Also there was Sebastian Coates, who work permit permitting will hopefully by the end of Monday be a Liverpool player. I am guessing when I say he must be impressed with what he saw and cannot wait to join up with fellow countryman Luis Suarez in the team.
That team who until 5.50 p.m. this evening is sitting at THE TOP OF THE PREMIERSHIP and it is a great feeling to know that Kenny and his magic is bring back to Anfield the football that we have all longed to watch for many years.