Liverpool’s most expensive signing Andy Carroll does not want to sit on the bench anymore after proving his worth with two precious goals within four days.
The 23-year-old has been the subject of ridicule since his £35 million arrival from Newcastle 14 months ago.
However, the pony-tailed striker had the last laugh when given a rare run by scoring a stoppage-time winner for a side reduced to 10 men at Blackburn Rovers and the decisive goal in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton at Wembley.
In a thinly-veiled attack on Kenny Dalglish, Carroll insisted his confidence has been shattered by the Liverpool manager’s player rotation policy.
“I didn’t come to Anfield to sit on the bench,” Carroll was quoted as saying in the British press.
He added: “I am confident in myself that, if I am playing games, I will score goals and put myself about.
“I cannot really do that if I am on the bench and coming on in the last 10 minutes of games.
“It has just been difficult in terms of not playing.
“I feel I have given it my best shot.
“What I want is to start games and put myself about like I know I can. When I haven’t been playing, you get low on confidence. I think that is the same with every player.
“It is always hard when you come into a team and you haven’t been playing every week. It is always hard for anyone just to perform straight away and when you don’t know if you are going to be in.”
Carroll attributes his renewed confidence with a return to Dalglish’s starting lineup and believes he is also reaping the benefits of being disciplined off the pitch.
“My past is my past. I changed my lifestyle when I came to Liverpool and settled down. I love it here,” he said.
The Liverpool striker hopes last week, when his seventh and eighth goals of the season eased the scrutiny on Dalglish, can mark a turning point in his Anfield career.
Liverpool have not lost any of the past 10 matches that Carroll has started – winning eight and drawing two – and have not won the past eight without the centre-forward in the starting lineup – losing five and drawing three.
“To score the winner in the semi-final and get us to the final it is obviously a great feeling. Scoring against Blackburn and scoring against Everton is a great lift for me. When you play regularly you get confident and you get into the stride of things and I feel I am doing that now,” he said.
Carroll’s long-term future at Liverpool was called into question just a fortnight ago following his angry reaction to being withdrawn against his former club at St James’ Park. The striker has been strongly linked with a return to Tyneside but insists his ambition is to remain part of the Liverpool team.
“I want to play for Liverpool,” he stated. “I have signed a long contract, obviously I have signed here to stay. There is a lot more for me to give and a lot more to win here. I love it here and I want to stay.”