"We've monitored it very closely," was Brendan Rodgers' response to questions about Andy Carroll's loan spell at West Ham United as he prepares his side to face the Hammers on Sunday. "We've had representatives from Liverpool at most of the games."
Carroll won't be available to play for West Ham over the weekend as the London side go up against his parent club, but after an injury-filled season for the tall targetman recent weeks have seen him return to something at least resembling the form he was on when he left Newcastle for Liverpool back in January of 2011.
With that return to form, hopes that West Ham would seek to trigger the buy option on his loan deal and pay upwards of £15M for his services full time have been renewed—and with Rodgers desperate to cash in if he can, Liverpool will be happy that there once again seems a chance of the deal being made permanent.
Earlier in the season, with Carroll either out of action entirely or looking off the pace and isolated, that seemed impossible. When Carroll was first linked to West Ham, the intention had been for the loan deal to include a clause making his purchase mandatory at the end of the year if the Hammers stayed up.
In the end, though, and in a blow to Liverpool, Carroll was unwilling to move if it meant giving up all control over his future, and when the deal was re-written it was so that all three parties—Liverpool, West Ham, and the player—would have to sign off on making the deal permanent.
"It's obviously been a difficult season for Andy because his initial idea was he wanted to go out and play every week," added Rodgers, "but unfortunately for him he's picked up some injuries since he's been away.
"He scored two very good goals at the weekend and he'll be looking to finish the season on a high and achieve the objectives he wanted to before he went out, [but talk of making the deal permanent is] nothing to discuss now. It's something we'll speak about at the end of the season."
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