LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 05: Andy Carroll of Liverpool is closed down by Dickson Etuhu (L) and Danny Murphy of Fulham during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage on December 5, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
With Brendan Rodger's round-about suggestion that Andy Carroll's career at Anfield will prove to be damningly curtailed, clubs are already lining up to acquire his expensive services - albeit temporarily or permanently.
Newcastle United, Carroll's former club, are expected to lead the chase, with the Belfast Telegraph already claiming a £10 million bid from Tyneside could tempt both Rodgers and Carroll himself. Most at Liverpool, however, feel that even that kind of hefty sum won't be achieved after the Englishman's dismal start to life on Merseyside.
Fulham, though, in many respects, hold the upper hand as they possess the bargaining tool of Clint Dempsey. Manager Martin Jol is believed to be considering a swap deal with Liverpool for Carroll's services, with some money potentially going North too. Over recent days, it is thought Dempsey has already agreed terms with Liverpool and the only factor holding up the move is an agreement over price. This could well sway any future deal deal.
Despite this, a loan move is still the most likely outcome which, despite Fulham's stringent wage budget, is plausible for all parties. West Ham United's interest could also force Liverpool's hand. According to reports today, however, the player himself is more-than reluctant to leave the North West preferring, instead, to prove his worth to Rodgers.
Whether that will affect his manager's decision is debatable. Two days ago, when asked about the possibility of letting Carroll leave on a short term basis, Rodgers had this to say:
"It's something I would have to look at, I have to be honest," the Liverpool boss said. "I'm not going to sit here and say I will never let anyone go on loan, then come in here in two weeks and a player's gone, and you're saying ‘you said you wouldn't let them go.'
"There are many things to going on loan. Is it going to be beneficial for the club, that's the most important thing?
"Sometimes a player going out on loan - in general, not just Andy - can benefit the club in the long term.
"It gets them game experience, and they come back a better player, a more confident one. Certainly more so than if they've been sitting on the bench for the majority of the season."
Could Carroll to Fulham really happen?
Yes - we're a club who could attract his services (89 votes)
No - we simply can't afford his wages (148 votes)
237 total votes