Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez Have Strong Opening Match Performances, But Partnership Still Needs Work

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August 15, 2011

Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez Have Strong Opening Match Performances, But Partnership Still Needs Work Despite both players arriving at the close of the January transfer window, strikers Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez shared the pitch only six times for Liverpool last season.

Between Carroll's lingering injuries and Suarez's ineligibility for the Europa League, the two did not get the match time necessary to develop a strong understanding. With Suarez missing the entire preseason due to Uruguay's successful Copa America tournament, Liverpool fans could only hope that their star duo would hit the ground running against Sunderland in the season opener.

Individually, Liverpool's strikers played decent games. Suarez got a goal and Carroll had a goal questionably disallowed. However, as a partnership, they left something to be desired with very little ball movement between them as the match wore on.

The lack of interaction between the two is of particular concern when one considers the almost immediate chemistry Suarez enjoyed with Dirk Kuyt last season.  Both players joined Liverpool from the Dutch Eredivisie and perhaps it is this common background that allowed the two to develop an instant rapport. With intricate exchanges and smart runs to open space for one another, Suarez and Kuyt provided a dynamic spearhead to Liverpool's attack that the Reds sorely missed on Saturday.

Perhaps the most interesting tactical note from the match was that it was Carroll who consistently dropped deep to link play, not Suarez. While not a negative unto itself, Carroll demonstrated he has a stronger all-around game than some believe, it was peculiar that Suarez was not more heavily involved in trying to open up the center of the pitch, one of his greatest strengths.

Thankfully for Liverpool, Suarez should be fully available for training this week — unlike prior to the opener — and both he and Carroll can continue to develop a better familiarity of each others' movement.

The two players possess so much talent between them that one must assume that with a little more time on the training ground, Carroll and Suarez can combine into one of the most feared attacking partnerships in the Premier League — at least that was the plan when the Reds splashed out almost £60 million to bring the duo to Anfield last winter.

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