After doing his part to help West Ham United claw their way back to a 1-1 draw against Southampton on Saturday, Andy Carroll is making headlines again as the uncertainty of his future looms large over his positive run of form. After scoring his fifth goal in seven games, Carroll is now joint top goal scorer with captain Kevin Nolan, both having netted six for the Hammers this season.
Lamentably for Carroll, those goals haven't been enough to make Brendan Rodgers regret sending the striker out on loan, as the manager not-so-subtly suggested Liverpool haven't missed Carroll's scoring efforts.
"It's not at all unfortunate that Andy's scoring goals," said Rodgers. "We're the fourth highest goalscorers in the league, so scoring hasn't been a problem for us.
"The objective this season was to get Andy playing games," Rodgers continued. "I came in the summer and he had had a frustrating period up until that point, where he maybe hadn't played as much as he would have wanted to play. So he felt that this was a season when he needed to get games. I couldn't guarantee that was going to happen.
"But there's absolutely no doubt that come the end of the season, we will sit down and talk because he is a player who can contribute to what we're trying to do. He just wants to play football. A certain style will suit his game but there's no doubt he can get goals. It's just about the style that is going to utilize his strengths and qualities."
Liverpool's current pass-and-move set-up is generally accepted as not being the style that will best utilize Carroll's strengths and qualities, but Rodgers' new found belief that the striker can contribute to that style is an interesting development. There has been much discussion about the tactical offerings a player of Carroll's type can provide beyond merely being a target man; however, even the most optimistic amongst us would have a hard time interpreting Rodgers as saying Carroll definitely has a future at LFC. At the very least, though, he's apparently still not ready to completely shut down the idea.
For Carroll's part, the player has gone on record as saying that if the right opportunity came along to stay at West Ham, he'd take it. "It is obviously a great club and I do not see why not. The lads have been great, the gaffer has been great and the fans are unbelievable."
"We will have to wait and see."
Wait and see. Carroll's whole season could be summed up by those three words. He's essentially running to stand still, fighting for first team minutes and a chance to make the best of a transfer gone awry, and yet at the end of the day he's still not much closer to knowing what the next phase of his career might look like.