Liverpool have told ESPN that they have the option to recall Andy Carroll from his West Ham loan in January.
It was suggested on Tuesday that West Ham have a year-long loan and could purchase Carroll at any time for £17 million on top of the £2 million they've already paid for his services.
But a Liverpool source told ESPN: "No, that is not the case. Liverpool have loaned Andy Carroll for the season, but with an option to recall him in January."
Manager Brendan Rodgers is seeking a firm commitment from the American owners that he will be able to buy a new striker in January.
The alternative is to bring Carroll back, and that would be a major blow to Sam Allardyce at Upton Park who wants to build his team around the big centre-forward.
West Ham co-owner David Gold tweeted on the matter, he said: "The exact terms of AC [Carroll] year long loan deal is subject to a confidentially agreement but we are hopeful he will be with us the whole season."
Worse still for the unhappy Hammers is that the hamstring injury suffered by Carroll on his debut is worse than first feared and could keep him out for a lengthy period.