Why Carroll and Suarez will be a success

Posted by Mr Dilkington on February 26, 2011, 03:46:46 AM

Come the end of the January transfer window, a window in which Liverpool Football club had heavily participated, i think the word 'shock' summed up the general feeling amongst the Red faithful. At the start of january, no one would have predicted the outcome, Mystic Meg spat her coffee out at the sight of the yellow ticker on Sky Sports News, even Guillem Ballague and his rumour mill thought they were in for a regular transfer window. It's easy to forget about the most important event that occurred in January, the homecoming for Mr Kenny Dalglish. It all happened too quickly, it was one shock after another, first there was delight at the news Liverpool had agreed a deal to sign Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. A great foil for our Spanish hit man, most agreed.....
We were never to know, and we can only imagine what it'd have been like, because soon after the Suarez news, Fernando Torres decided Liverpool weren't the club to match his ambitions. Yes that's right, the day we broke our transfer record, was the day Fernando Torres decided to leave Liverpool Football club. Many will argue he had already decided long before late January, but it would've been the summer, it would have given Liverpool a chance to either scout a replacement or convince Torres that we were moving in the right direction. Chelsea's bid was enough to trigger the Spaniard into gear, a gear or two higher than he had achieved on the football pitch for nearing 18 months.
Enough about Torres though, he has made his bed, and now, etc....
The final day of the transfer window was quite something, there was rumours about Ashley Young, there was gathering momentum in the Charlie Adam deal, there was bloody nothing about Andy Carroll.
And so we ended up with the young Geordie striker, for 30 million pounds.
"Excuse me, but, did you just say Andy Carroll, and 30 million in the same sentence?" was the standard response from many.
On the 1st of February 2011, Andy Carroll became the 8th most expensive player in the history of the 'beautiful game'
It's a deal that will represent excellent value over time.
Obviously the big question is, will Suarez and Carroll work as a partnership?
First off you have to look at each player on an individual basis, only then can we decipher whether success is likely.
Luis Suarez

At 24 years of age, we have signed Suarez just as he enters his peak years. He has experienced European football for over 4 years, firstly at Groningen, and then at the World famous Ajax. There's an overwhelming inevitability that Suarez will be nothing but a masterstroke from Damien Comolli, the fact he's signed a 6.5 year deal signals how confident the club are, and how committed Suarez is to Liverpool's immediate and long term future.
Groningen signed Suarez from Uruguayan club Nacional, the fee was 800,000 euros. In his one and only season at Nacional, Suarez started close to 30 games, and scored 10. In his one and only season at Groningen, Suarez started close to 30 games , and scored 10. I'm afraid i didn't have the fortune of seeing Suarez for either of these clubs, so swiftly, we move on to his next club, Ajax.
At 7.5 million, Ajax had taken a gamble, but much like ourselves, it was a gamble that wasn't really a gamble at all. His first strike partner at Ajax was Klaas Jan Huntelaar, it was a partnership the Ajax fans enjoyed for just 18 months, as Huntelaar joined Real Madrid in January 09. For the short time they did play together, Ajax scored bucket loads of goals, and Suarez finished up with an impressive 20 goals.
Why did he and Huntelaar work so well together? The first, and most obvious thing, they are both extremely good players, but the striking thing from my point of view, how different they were. You have Huntelaar who loved to play in the penalty box, getting on the end of cut backs, being first to every loose ball, and generally being in the right place at the right time. At the other end of the spectrum there's Suarez, who loves to do his work cutting in from the wings, playing in between the lines, and using his acceleration to burst past opponents.
This is the blueprint Ajax have used ever since Suarez's arrival. Strikers flourish when playing alongside him, and it's easy to see why, he works harder than any other player on the pitch, he can drop off and drag centre backs deep, or he can pull into the channels and leave centre backs with a choice, something they don't really like, Suarez is really just a pain in the arse!
He even managed to make the usually average Marko Pantelic look good, this during the 09/10 season. Pantelic managed to notch 16 goals in 25 Eredivise games for Ajax, and maybe average is unfair on him, he impressed a lot of people during his time at Hertha Berlin, but there can be no doubt that Luis Suarez elevated him to heights greater than his individual ability could ever achieve.
During that season, Suarez managed to score 35 Eridivise goals (49 in all competitions), it was becoming increasingly evident that Suarez was outgrowing the Dutch League, but who would take the chance on him? After all, it was only the Eridivise. Then the Fifa World Cup arrived....
Going into the 2010 World Cup, there were whispers about Uruguay being the 'Dark Horse' for the tournament. This is where i'm going to give myself a small pat in the back, sometime before the World Cup started, i remember walking towards the 18th green of my local golf course, my regular golfing buddy in tow. We were discussing who we felt could cause a few surprises during the tournament, i remember telling him about Uruguay and Forlan being 1500/1 for World Cup/Golden boot, and it might be worth an each way bet. He merely laughed and told me i was being a tad optimistic...
Despite Forlan receiving the bulk of the praise for his role in the Uruguay success story, our new number 7 more than played his part. Playing from the left in a fluid 4-3-1-2 formation, Suarez often drifted out wide left, allowing the space for Forlan to stride into. As well as making his teammates look better, Suarez managed to get on the score sheet 3 times himself.
This was the typical set up (Front three) used by Oscar Tabarez during the World Cup.
                                                                                                                Diego Forlan
                                                                                  Edinson Cavani                                      Luis Suarez
This is a set up regular watchers of Barcelona are used to. Messi playing the role of Forlan, Villa taking the part of Suarez, no, of course i'm not going to suggest Pedro played the Cavani role, but this just typifies the point that, no matter the formation, every team is different. Cavani was used purely to occupy the opposition centre backs, used as a reference for the deeper lying Suarez and Forlan to play one-two's off. I guess this is what Guardiola was trying to achieve with Ibrahimovic, there was obviously multiple different reasons why the Ibrahimovic thing didn't work, but the thing that stands out for me, Cavani accepted that his role was to get the best out of Forlan, and so did Suarez. Ibrahimovic couldn't accept being anything other than the main man. As has been said in the past, at Barcelona, everything revolves around Messi.
I went off on a bit of a tangent there, but it all ties in somewhere, probably.
Andy Carroll
I'm going to go through this bit without mentioning the price tag, because quite seriously, i honestly couldn't care less. What i do care about however, how good can be be for Liverpool Football Club.
Aston Villa 1-0 Newcastle. The scoreboard was there for all to see, but it didn't tell the whole story. Newcastle United had been relegated from the Premier League. They went down with a whimper, and they sent all the bare chested Geordie faithful back home, with thoughts of away trips, not to Villa Park and the like, but to Scunthorpe's Glanford park, and Plymouth's Home park. At the time, if you'd suggested to Newcastle fans relegation might be a good thing, you'd likely have walked away with a black eye, i say walked, i suppose it all depends on the size of the particular Geordie.
It did turn out to be a good thing for Newcastle though, they stripped high earners off the wage bill, players like Obafemi Martins, Mark Viduka, Michael judas, and Damien Duff all left the club. No one benefited from Newcastle's year in the Championship more than Andy Carroll.
There's an old cliche about lower league football, and although the Championship is England's second division, i think the saying holds some significance. 'Kill or be killed' is the saying in question, and Andy Carroll thrived under Newcastle's ability to scrap for points. Would players like Viduka, Martins, and Duff have really fancied a year in the Championship? Players like Joey Barton, Andy Carroll, and Shola Ameobi, as well as being too good for the Championship, matched their competitors for work rate, then the superior football took over, and inevitably that was the formula that took Newcastle back to the Premiership, via the Championship Title. Seems strange, but Andy Carroll is the only player in the Liverpool squad that won a trophy last season, maybe it'll rub off eh?
Carroll formed a reliable partnership with both Shola Ameobi and Danish striker Peter Lovenkrands. Feeding on some well worked set pieces, Andy Carroll managed to score 17 Championship goals.
Could he carry his form up a division was the major question? Many had their doubts about his ability to score goals in the Premiership, i was one of them i admit. 


Before the Premiership season started, Scotland manager Craig Levein talked about the possibility of Carroll playing for Scotland. England and Capello waited to see how he accquited himself, playing as Newcastle's number 9 in the best league in the World (Sky Copyright).


Newcastle's first home game of the season arrived after a disappointing 3-0 defeat away to Man United, many people predicted a tough season for the Magpies, their performance against the red half of Manchester couldn't have been more different to the performance they turned in against Aston Villa. This game showed Carroll's ability in all areas of the game, anyone who had him under the 'battering ram' section of the football guide book, had to reassess their opinion.


Carroll's first goal came from a corner, the ball ricocheted in the box, and one sweep of his left foot put Newcastle 3-0 to the good. His second goal came from a flick on in and around the box, unfortunately for Aston Villa, the dropping ball arrived at his left foot, he let the ball drop over his shoulder and hammered Newcastle into a 4-0 lead. The third goal was really something special, out on the right hand side of the pitch, on the half way line, Carroll shields the ball from an Aston Villa player, and spreads a 40 yard cross field pass to Spanish striker Xisco. He continues his run from the right hand wing, and gets on the end of a through ball, before placing a left foot shot beyond Brad Friedel.


The Aston Villa game kickstarted the frontman's season, and come January, Carroll had notched up an impressive 11 Premier League goals, scoring against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City.


The Tartan army's faint hopes of seeing Andy Carroll in the blue jersey were dashed, when Fabio Capello called him up to the England squad, due to face France at Wembley. England started with Steven Gerrard and Andy Carroll, playing in close proximity, the pair linked well and gave the steady pairing of Adil Rami and Philipe Mexes lots to think about. Winning flick ons and bringing his teammates into play, Carroll was one of England's best performers, despite England losing the game 2-1. France's leading newspaper L'Quipe were more than impressed with Carroll, rating him as England's best player on the night, on Carroll.


'Deservedly applauded off. Didn't stop hassling defence. Only 21, but we'll definitely see him again.'


We'll be seeing him for a long time, lets hope he impresses us as much as he did L'Quipe.


How will Carroll and Suarez play together?


On paper, it seems like the perfect partnership, but there are still many questions to be answered. Will they play in a 4-4-2 formation, or will the team move forward with one of 4-3-3 or 5-3-2. The good thing is, no matter what, Carroll will be a constant. Carroll will be the reference point for the team, other players will play in different areas, but if fit it will be Carroll plus 10. This is where Suarez's versatility comes into play, he can play from the left, from the right, as a support striker, or as an out and out striker. So no matter the formation, Suarez can step in without looking uncomfortable.


Brazilian based journalist Tim Vickery recently talked about Suarez and how he'd link with Carroll. Although he hadn't seen much of Carroll, from what he'd heard, he was a similar type of striker to Uruguay vetran Sebastian Abreu, and Suarez and Abreu had linked well in the past. He explained that Suarez would drop into small pockets of space, and stand little crosses up for the big striker to head home. Carroll is a much much better version of Abreu, so it could be something we see a lot of in the future. With players like Gerrard and Meireles running from midfield, there is a lot to look forward to.


The most pleasing thing from my point of view, we have spent big money on two strikers, hungry strikers that want to be here and want to help the club get back to the top. Both are still young and have their best years ahead of them, if they do hit it off together, the partnership holds no limits. Natural ability will get you so far, but when they develop an understanding, goals will flow.


In the past, the club have tried to sign players on the cheap, in the hope they will be good enough for the Liverpool first team. Suarez and Carroll cost us over 50 million, but then in the past years, we have spent money on players like Cisse, Bellamy, and Voronin. Cisse and Bellamy did well for the club short term, but you got the feeling they weren't first choice, because of the restrictions Benitez was under, he was always wheeling and dealing, selling a striker to buy another. It was well documented that Rafa wanted to sign Villa when he played at Valencia, but it couldn't be done.


Now the club can pursue the very best in the business. It's one of the perks of getting rid of Hicks and Gillett.


Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll represent everything Hicks and Gillett never were, and never could be.... though, i'm sure they'd tell you different ;).

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