x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Carroll adapting to change at Liverpool, says coach Dalglish

Players have done a lot of talking on the pitch for us, says the manager, as the Reds take on Newcastle United tonight.

The Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish does not think Andy Carroll's off-field habits, which have come under criticism, have anything to do with his self-belief and form.
The Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish does not think Andy Carroll's off-field habits, which have come under criticism, have anything to do with his self-belief and form.

The stand-out match of match day 19 in the Premier League sees sixth-placed Liverpool host seventh-placed Newcastle United tonight, when home striker Andy Carroll looks to start repaying the faith shown in him by manager Kenny Dalglish.

Luis Suarez's one-match suspension for a gesture at Fulham fans in a recent league match should ensure Carroll starts at Anfield against the team that sold him for £35 million (Dh201.25m) in a stunning last-minute deal in January's transfer window.

The mighty price tag - which made him one of the world's costliest ever players - appears to be weighing heavily on the England international, who has only scored twice in the league this season and has often started on the bench behind Suarez.

Brushing aside regular stories about Carroll's off-field habits - he was urged by Fabio Capello, the England manager, in September to drink less if he is to become a regular in the national squad - Dalglish insists the player can still thrive at Liverpool.

"He is adapting well to the change and we will keep working with him and, fortunately for Andy, we have much greater belief in him than a lot of people have, who write about him," Dalglish said.

"He is not struggling to deal with anything - I don't think self-belief is a problem for Andy Carroll, I don't see why it should be."

Carroll - a boyhood Newcastle fan - could be set for an extended run in Liverpool's starting line-up after Suarez was handed an eight-match ban last week for racially insulting Patrice Evra, the Manchester United defender.

The Uruguay international is likely to appeal against the suspension but could face a lengthy spell out, giving regular opportunities to Carroll.

With Liverpool having drawn their last two games, against lowly sides Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers, they needs to get back to winning ways to keep pace with its rivals for the Champions League places. Liverpool are three points off the Champions League places in the league table.

"I think we deserve to be higher up the table than we are but you've got to earn that right and not talk about it," Dalglish said. "To be fair, they [the players] have done a lot of talking on the pitch for us.

"As long as we are in there somewhere, continue to do the right things and give ourselves a chance [come the end of the season] then we'll be happy with that."

While Liverpool have scored just 21 goals in 17 Premier League matches, Newcastle have one of the division's hottest players in Demba Ba.

The Senegalese striker, a free signing from West Ham United in the summer, scored his 14th goal of the campaign in the 2-0 victory at Bolton Wanderers on Monday, which ended a six-game wait for a league win.

Manager Alan Pardew, who is bracing himself for the Senegal international's departure on African Cup of Nations duty next month, said: "He's just one of those players who has everything, really, as a striker.

"There's not much to his game that he hasn't got, and that stands you in good stead.

"When any chance comes your way, you are going to have a good armoury to get a goal."

* Agencies

11.45pm, Abu Dhabi Sports 3 & 5