What do you do about a problem like Andy?
Whatever excitement and curiosity to be wrought from the signing of Fabio Borini has been firmly drowned by the Andy Carroll saga that is almost certainly going to come to a conclusion a majority of us won't like, and will already put our new manager behind something of an 8-ball at a time when we'd all rather be fully behind him. It's his first big call of his new job, and he appears to be pretty bull-headed about it.
Let's be clear, to be a successful manager you've got to be pretty stubborn. You have to believe in your ways enough to convince your bosses and your players that it's the right way. You have to show belief even in times when it might not be working, because once you appear to have doubts about what you're doing, you're pretty much finished as a manager. So I get that.
But in this case? I'm just not so sure that you show up and immediately dismiss a player sight unseen after he's worked so hard to make himself a valuable part of the team and win the fans over. It seems that Rodgers, like so many fans and pundits, can't ignore the price tag. If he could, he'd at least see that there's a valuable Plan B to be had out of Carroll, if nothing else. But it just feels like the he's looked at the cost of Carroll, decided that if he's not going to be the primary striker in his system then he has to go. Nevermind that this would be the absolute worst time to sell Carroll, as his value just isn't all that high. It would be a miracle to recoup half of what he cost, even though he didn't end up costing Liverpool anything when combined with the Torres sale. What will supporters think at the end of those matches were Liverpool are huffing and puffing but can't find a way to break down an opposition, and there's no option on the bench?
But I think the frustration for a lot of Reds on this is a frustration for Carroll himself. Because he's been up against it from the word go. He never wanted to leave Newcastle, and was forced to hand in a transfer request so that club could save face after selling a hero to the fans. He showed up hurt, and couldn't quite fit in in the middle of the season. The following season comes about and he can't crack the starting lineup. His work ethic and fitness and lifestyle are constantly questioned. His aggravation is obvious to everyone, as he can't make the impact he so desires. Newcastle fans boo him now for no logical reason. And finally, after all that, he bullies his way into the reckoning at the end of the season, scores a few huge goals and is once again terrorizing defenders. He's won over a fair few fans who didn't warm up to him at the start. After over a year in the wilderness he finally feels like he's part of the solution, and carries that into his first international tournament where he made his presence felt when he got the chance.
And now his manager is trying to chuck him without even taking a look.
Maybe it would be doing Andy a favor, ending a situation that never lined up right for club and player. Maybe it's better for the club if a more like-minded striker can be bought for that money, because right now it looks like they have two in Suarez and Borini and not much else. But after all we've invested in Andy over these 17 months, and all he's gone through and transformed, this seems like an unjust ending.
Maybe he can prove him wrong on these shores. But it doesn't feel like Rodgers is listening or watching anyway.