Kenny Dalglish expects Liverpool striker Andy Carroll to be nervous on return to Newcastle

 

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is happy for Andy Carroll to have some nerves about returning to Newcastle this weekend.

The club's £35million record signing has faced his former club twice since leaving in January last year but both have been at Anfield and both ended in comfortable victories.

However, coming up against the Magpies in the north east at a ground where Carroll very quickly established himself as a hero to thousands of Geordies is a different prospect.

On Liverpool's last visit there in December 2010 Carroll was an influential figure in the hosts' 3-1 win, scoring once himself.

And since the clubs' last meeting at Anfield three months ago the balance of power has swung heavily in favour of Alan Pardew's side with Liverpool eight points adrift of sixth-placed Newcastle after a run of five defeats in six Barclays Premier League matches.

Summer signing Jose Enrique also returns to his former club for the first time but the focus will undoubtedly firmly be on Carroll and Dalglish, himself an ex-Newcastle manager, fully understands any pre-match anxiety for the striker.

"It's not a bad thing, is it? If you weren't nervous you'd have a bit of a problem," said the Scot.

"In my case it was always best to be nervous rather than totally laid back.

"I don't think anyone can be laid back when they go and play at the club that gave him his opportunity in football and turned him into a professional footballer.

"For him and Jose it will be an exciting time to go back."

Dalglish spent 20 months in charge of Newcastle between 1997 and 1998 and was full of praise for the job Pardew has done in keeping the club as high as they are in the table after critics suggested their early season good form would taper off.

"It's not the first old club I've been back to and every club I've been at I've enjoyed. It was no different there," he added.

"I enjoyed the people I worked with, the people I worked for, and they've got fantastic supporters.

"They get right behind their side, it's a fantastic place to go and play football and it's a great city that should be proud of its football club.

"This year Alan Pardew has done a fantastic job getting to where they are in the league and I'm looking forward to going back."

Dalglish will be desperate to arrest the club's recent run of results which has seen all hopes of a top four finish disappear this month.

Just two league wins in 2012 tells its own story and although the club have already won the Carling Cup and have an FA Cup semi-final in just over a fortnight they cannot afford to allow their league results to slide any further with Sunderland, Everton, Swansea and Norwich all within three points.

"We want to compete equally in every competition we're in," said Dalglish.

"We've done tremendously well in the cups and we've got to recreate it in the league.

"It's not been that way this season. There have been a lot of fantastic performances but we've not got the results.

"We just need to get our league results in better order and it'll be a happier story."

Dalglish is hopeful his team's injury issues will have eased by the weekend but admits it will be a further fortnight before the full extent of Charlie Adam's knee problem is known.

The Scotland midfielder missed the defeat at home to Wigan along with forward Craig Bellamy (calf), midfielder Maxi Rodriguez (illness) and defenders Glen Johnson (calf), Daniel Agger (rib) and Martin Kelly (ankle).

While some of those are edging closer to a return Adam will have to wait for another assessment.

"Charlie's another two weeks and then we'll find out a proper diagnosis without people speculating what's wrong," said the Reds boss.

"Rather than be inaccurate or incorrect or someone making up a story we will wait and see in a couple of weeks how long he's going to be out."

PA

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