AS THE nation waits with bated breath for its first glimpse of the Royal Wedding Dress, the only unveiling Liverpool fans have been keenly anticipating for the last few weeks occurred at the Stadium of Light last Sunday.
The much-vaunted dual strike force of Suarez and Carroll made its first public appearance and, though it’s clear that a few nips and tucks are needed, there was enough on display to suggest that this particular marriage will be a long and fruitful one.
Separately, Suarez had made an instant impact, scoring on his debut as a substitute and torturing Man Utd, while Carroll’s appearances in the dire performances against Braga had been more muted, largely because of the dross that surrounded him. Sunday was a first chance to see how they might combine.
Effective strike partnerships do not necessarily have to conform to the classic ‘hunting-in-pairs’ model, where the partners form a symbiotic relationship which gives rise to media clap-trap about telepathic understanding and humiliating experiments as endured by Keegan and Toshack in the 70s.
In the early ‘noughties’ Emile Heskey and Michael Owen prospered as goalscoring strikers, yet I remember little interplay between them; attacks generally focused around one or the other, either trying to get Owen away behind the defence or hitting Heskey with long or short balls to hold up play in the target man role or turn and run at the defence.
Heskey of course further developed this role, eliminating the ‘turn and run’ element and becoming a stationary lamppost in the middle of the pitch.