Andy Carroll says Steven Gerrard can help him to fire for Liverpool


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The Independent Football

Liverpool striker Andy Carroll believes the return of Steven Gerrard can bring the best out of him.

Injuries to both players in the 12 months since Carroll completed his club-record £35million move from Newcastle has contributed to the 23-year-old's difficult start to his Anfield career.

Incredibly, the two England internationals have been on the pitch together just nine times in the last year and have started in the same team just once - last week's Carling Cup semi-final first leg win at Manchester City.

Carroll arrived at Anfield with a thigh injury and when he finally made his debut it was as a substitute in Gerrard's last match before groin surgery ruled him out until the following September.


The captain's return was brief before an ankle infection sidelined him for a further two months but in the short time the 31-year-old has been back since Boxing Day, particularly in the home win against Carroll's former club, he has given the striker renewed optimism.

"We haven't had the chance to start many games together," said Carroll, who is under more pressure to add to his tally of six goals in 33 appearances with Luis Suarez halfway through his eight-match ban.

"I think I may have been a sub when he's started or he has been a sub when I have so it's nice to see him back.

"When you're on the same team as him in training, some of the passes he puts through for you and the chances he creates are incredible really.

"So hopefully I can keep working hard, get a nice run of games, give some good performances and get a few goals.

"If I can get a good run, hopefully that can kick-start me on again."

Carroll believes a fully-fit Gerrard will give the whole club a lift and he has already made a difference in the six matches he has played.

"You can see at Melwood that as soon as he comes out on the training pitch he's just different class," he told LFC Magazine.

"I think just him being there gives everyone else another lift and another boost.

"He's already scored three goals so you can see straight away the difference that he makes and the impact he has."

Off the field the long-running saga of Liverpool's rebuilding process continues to edge forward slowly.

The club have decided to revert to original plans for a new stadium in Stanley Park but Press Association Sport understands that does not mean owners Fenway Sports Group have totally abandoned hopes of remaining at a redeveloped Anfield.

Designs by Dallas-based architects HKS, commissioned by former co-owner Tom Hicks, have been ditched in favour of the proposals by Manchester company AFL which were granted planning permission in 2004 and come in an estimated £100million cheaper than the £400million cost of the redrawn plans.

There is some scope for modification to the nine-year-old design but building any new 60,000-seater stadium is dependent on the club securing naming rights.

Liverpool have been carrying out a worldwide search for over a year to assess the viability of finding sponsorship which will bring in about £150million.

Managing director Ian Ayre has admitted previously that building a new stadium with a capacity only 15,000 more than Anfield makes no financial sense without huge external investment.

But FSG have not committed to building a new stadium and have not ruled out remaining at Anfield.

Redevelopment is not an easy option with the ground in a residential area, which would require the purchase of numerous properties as well as complicated planning consent, but the idea has not been ruled out entirely and sources say both options are still being looked at.