Carroll had initially been named in Brendan Rodgers’ travelling party for the Europa League third round qualifying tie in Belarus this evening, despite reports linking the England striker with a move away from Anfield.
But the 23-year-old did not travel with the rest of the squad as they departed Merseyside on Wednesday morning.
Liverpool’s official stance on the matter is that Carroll was left out in order to avoid aggravating a groin strain sustained during Saturday’s pre-season friendly with Tottenham in Baltimore, and that he could feature in next week’s second leg at Anfield. The Reds took with them the bare minimum in terms of players and staff, for what was always likely to be an awkward trip logistically.
The timing of the withdrawal, however, and the fact that he had initially been named in the party, will inevitably fuel speculation that the frontman will be leaving the club before the end of the month. Both West Ham and Newcastle United interesting in signing him, with Carroll believed to prefer a return to his former club over a switch to London.
It is now understood, however, that Tottenham could be set to join the race for the England man, though they are yet to submit an official offer to Liverpool.
Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas is desperate to add to his striking options, and the north London club could, potentially, offer the European football it is believed Carroll so craves.
Spanish forward Daniel Pacheco, meanwhile, was also left behind as the Reds headed for Gomel yesterday, revealing the news via his personal Twitter feed. The 21-year-old returned to the club last month after a season on loan with Rayo Vallecano.
Pacheco tweeted: “Unfortunately I’m not involved for the match on Thursday. I will keep working. Always. One day it will come.”
The former Barcelona youngster featured in a reserve team game against Huddersfield Town at the Academy on Wednesday afternoon, alongside Suso, Andre Wisdom and Conor Coady.
Teenagers Adam Morgan and Raheem Sterling, however, did travel with the first-team squad, along with a host of senior players including Jose Enrique, Jonjo Shelvey, Charlie Adam, Jamie Carragher and Lucas Leiva, who could make his competitive return to action after eight months out with a knee injury.
New signing Fabio Borini has also made the trip, and could lead the line for Rodgers’ side in what would be his competitive debut for the club.