Dalglish hits out at "obsession" with Andy Carroll

Kenny Dalglish is convinced British record signing Andy Carroll will deliver on his immense promise and carve out a glittering Liverpool career.

The £35million striker has struggled to make a lasting impression at Anfield since his arrival from Newcastle, and already, there have been murmurs of discontent even amongst the Reds' supporters.

But manager Dalglish has offered his unconditional support to the forward, despite his relative lack of first team opportunities this season.

Since his move in January, Carroll has scored three goals in 14 appearances.

Arguably more significantly, he has made just three starts so far in this campaign, even after a return to full fitness in a successful pre-season regime.

His only goal came against League One side Exeter in the Carling Cup, and Dirk Kuyt seems to have moved ahead of him in the pecking order, raising questions about the patience of the Anfield management.

But Dalglish has now made clear the 23-year-old retains his full backing.

The Liverpool manager explained that he has tried to dispel any fears Carroll may harbour, by providing the support he feels he needs.

"He is young. But he's an excellent player and will be a valuable asset for us. He knows that we are on the same side as him. That's important," Dalglish explained.

"We'll always look after him and I'm sure he'll look after us. We've spoken in the past about Andy being one for the future, not just the short term, but it's immediate for everyone.

"Some of them that aren't as fortunate as he is, their future might not be as long as Andy Carroll's. We are delighted with the efforts of the players. People can pick out individuals but that's not something we like to do."

With Saturday's visit of Wolves to Anfield likely to offer another starting opportunity for Carroll, Dalglish tried to play down the question of the player's record price tag by insisting he will be treated exactly the same as any other member of the squad.

That means, of course, that he has no guarantee of a place, as Dalglish's selections this season has shown, which in turn raises questions about his impact, and whether the £35million investment Liverpool made in Carroll is so far proving to be a successful one.

The Liverpool boss though, was curt in his dismissal of such a notion, and he offered a sharp rebuke to any claims the club may have overpaid.

"We're not going to get into our business. We did the business in January and we were delighted with what we did. End of story," he insisted.

 "I don't understand the obsession. There are other players who haven't played either. "I think people are obsessed with Andy Carroll.

"I don't understand the paranoia with Andy. People talk about him like they know him. They don't know him. They talk about his lifestyle. What lifestyle? Everybody is obsessed with Andy Carroll.

"But everyone will be treated in exactly the same way here, whether they are the most expensive or the cheapest.

"The price tag is irrelevant. If we get someone in on a Bosman, does that mean he is rubbish? Should he not play because we haven't paid money for him?"

Liverpool will be looking to redeem themselves against Wolves after defeats at Stoke and Spurs in successive Premier League fixtures, and the Reds' supporters will be looking for a sign from Carroll he is ready to deliver.

There have been mixed reviews from the supporters about the big striker, with some questioning his contribution, but Dalglish argued that, for all the criticism, the public remain largely behind their big money signing.

"You say the fans are talking about Andy, but they were talking about him when he rattled that one in against [Manchester] City and scored the header," he argued.

 "I'll tell you one thing. The fans are more supportive of Andy than some people that write about him, and that's the most important thing to him, and us.

"We'd like to think we do our job properly. I don't understand the obsession with certain players. If the team changes, the team changes. The team changes not just for the sake of change, but for the benefit of everyone for varying reasons. That will continue.

 "I said before the price of someone doesn't make a difference. That's not Andy's problem."

Both Martin Skrtel and Charlie Adam will return after suspension, and skipper Steven Gerrard will again come off the bench to get more game time under his belt as he returns from a six-month lay-off with a groin problem.