It's way too early to draw firm conclusions about Andy Carroll.
The guy is only 21 and has not yet completed a full season at Anfield.
I really think that KD needs people to be patient and to give him time to rebuild, in a similar way that SAF needed at Utd.
The parallels are striking to me, in the 1970s/80s, LFC dominated and Utd played attractive, but inconsistent football, with flashes of brilliance and medocrity intertwined. Utd would occasionally win a cup competition and flatter to decieve, finishing 2nd one year, then 15th (or somewhere around there) the next.
I see the core of a good team emerging at Anfield, but there is still work to do to gain the consistency that the league winning teams need. Also, there is a matter of building the confidence that comes from a winning track record, that is the belief that drives teams on for the full 90 minutes. How often do the great teams score 'lucky' goals in the 90th minute? LFC did in the 70s/80s, Arsenal did, Chelsea did and so did Utd.
It's easy for me to say as a non-supporter, but in a way, LFC should forget chasing a place and focus on building a coherent and confident team, even if if means dropping points in the short term to bring in new (or younger) players and moulding a real winning side. (I also believe that Utd should do the same, BTW.)
It's going to be challenging to compete with the oil money, but I am sure it can be done.
Interesting that someone mentioned Gerrard earlier in the thread, once again parallels with Bryan Robson at Utd, the pillar of strength (and the best player) throughout and only won a league title in the twilight of his career.