Under-pressure Liverpool striker Andy Carroll admits that the return of skipper Steven Gerrard has boosted his hopes of performing more consistently for the Reds.
Carroll, who was signed for over £35 million from Newcastle United last January, has scored only four times in 25 appearances for the Merseyside outfit, leading to continuous criticism from both within and outside the club.
The extended absence of Gerrard in recent months due to injury has prevented the 23-year old Carroll from establishing a partnership with a top playmaker and the former Toon striker has revealed high hopes of benefiting from the return of his captain.
“It’s great to have the captain back. You can see at Melwood that as soon as he comes out on the training pitch, he’s just different class,” Carroll exclusively told LFC Magazine.
He added: “I think just him being there gives everyone else another lift and another boost. It’s great to see him back and since he has been, he’s already scored three goals so you can see straight away the difference that he makes and the impact he has.”
Gerrard has scored important goals against both Manchester clubs this season, with his most recent strike against league-leaders City putting Liverpool on the verge of reaching the Carling Cup Final.
Carroll believes that the absence of such an influential playmaker has hurt not only the club in general, but also his development in particular.
Carroll explained: “We haven’t had the chance to start many games together. 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.”
The big striker elaborated: “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.”
Saturday’s late kick-off at relegation-threatened Bolton will provide Carroll and Gerrard with a massive opportunity to replicate their training chemistry.