Belfast Telegraph

Carroll hopes Gerrard can help spark goal rush

By Carl Markham

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 £35m 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 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 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.

“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.

“When he comes out on the training pitch he's just different class. I think just him being there gives everyone else another lift and another boost,” said Carroll.

“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 it is understood 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.

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