Liverpool FC: Can Suarez and Carroll Be The New Toshack and Keegan?
Liverpool Football Club broke their club record for the amount paid for a player, twice in quick succession, late on during this past January 2011 transfer window.
First, it was the purchase of Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez from Ajax, for a then club record £22.8m and then very shortly after that, this record was well and truly smashed.
The acquisition of England's hottest new striking prospect, Andy Carroll from Newcastle United for a whooping £35m, lifted the bar to staggering heights.
So, Liverpool Football Club have a new attacking partnership that really makes the mouth water at it's potential.
Anfield has seen some thrilling strike partnership in its illustrious past, none more potent and acclaimed than their own "Batman and Robin," in the form of John Toshack and Kevin Keegan.
Toshack and Keegan were the epitome of the perfect dynamic duo, the "big man - small man" act and their potency was a demonstration of their relationship.
There was even a shocking photo of the two of them kitted out in the famous "Batman and Robin" outfits that should never be again be put on public display! (Can be seen in the John Toshack Tribute video!)
Such was the rapport struck up by Toshack and Keegan that many thought it was almost a telepathic understanding that the two had. There was the now famous "Telepathic Test" that Granada TV set up to put this to the test.
The two sat opposite each other and one would hold up a card with a symbol on it that the other could not see. Shockingly, they were able to telepathically send a message to the other and he identified the symbol correctly each time.
So telepathy proved, well not quite, as it was an elaborate and hilarious hoax done with cleverly placed mirrors! But this did nothing to dampen the idea that Toshack and Keegan were somehow in tune to each other's thoughts on the football pitch. (Can be seen in the John Toshack Tribute video.)
John Toshack was signed by Bill Shankly in late 1970 from Cardiff City for a massive £110,000. Already a full Welsh international, Toshack was by no means a giant, standing at 185cm (or just over 6'1"), but his aerial ability was second to none.
Kevin Keegan was signed just under a year later from Scunthorpe United for a fraction of what Shankly forked out for Toshack earlier; at £35,000, it was less than a third of Toshack's fee.
Fans and supporters were left open mouthed and agast at the price Liverpool paid for Toshack. But he was to cement himself as an Kop hero with his first goal for the Reds in his second game.
It came in an epic Merseyside derby at Anfield; with the Reds trailing 0-2, Steve Heighway pulled one back to make it 1-2. But it was Toshack's equaliser that energised and revitalised the Reds and they went on to grab the winner with the big Welshman being credited for turning the game around.
The fans' initial shock at Toshack's transfer fee was quickly forgotten with just his first goal for the club. Fans have made similar noises at the signing of another "big man" in Andy Carroll, but if he can get an early goal then his record transfer fee will no longer be what everyone talks about too.
Keegan was originally bought as a midfielder, but Shankly soon saw the partnership forging between the big Welshman and the comparatively smaller Englishman.
Toshack was phenomenal in the air and Keegan just seemed to know where the knock downs were going, or was it that Toshack knew where Keegan would run to?
Their classic "little and large" act is one of the most famous in football history and the template for future similar acts.
Toshack himself was also more than simply a provider; he himself scored a highly commendable 96 goals in his 246 appearances for the Reds.
Keegan scored exactly 100 goals in his 230 Liverpool appearances before moving on to Hamburg and a vast majority of these were thanks to his strike partner's aerial prowess.
The shorter Englishman was blessed with a dogged determination to get on to knock downs, but also had amazing levels of fitness. His knack of knowing where the goal was and is something that all great strikers have.
Keegan was also surprisingly a good dribbler with the ball and header himself, but it was in and around the box that he came into his own. Additionally, he was a great leader and inspiration to his fellow team mates with an infectious enthusiasm, a huge heart and massive personality.
He stood for all that his manager, Shankly, stood for. It was almost as if Shankly could have cloned a player that embodied his ethos on how the game should be played, then Keegan would have been the result.
Toshack and Keegan led Liverpool's front line scoring a combined 196 goals and winning three League Championships, two UEFA Cups, one FA Cup and one European Cup.
A fantastic record that the new Liverpool strike partnership, that is being compared to Toshack and Keegan, have to live up to and exceed.
Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll are Liverpool's latest "little and large" double act. Certainly, Suarez and Carroll rolls off the tongue almost as easily and smoothly as Toshack and Keegan, but do these two rookies have what it takes to surpass this great Liverpool dynamic duo of yesteryears.
To achieve this feat, Suarez and Carroll will need to win over the Kop and this will be done by a combination of hard work, willingness to fight and most importantly for strikers: goals.
Carroll is as formidable in the air as Toshack ever was, however, the one thing that the Welshman had going for him during his playing days, was the referees. In Toshack's playing days, a big man could really throw himself about without the referees blowing for fouls every other minute.
However, Carroll seems to be able to frighten the life out of defenders even without the aid of a lenient referee. The Englishman has raw power and his physical all action style of play has won him an army of those that admire him and as many, if not more, that fear him.
As with Toshack, Carroll has more strings to his bow than just being a big target man; as Toshack did, Carroll has speed, quick feet and a rocket shot (as Liverpool found out when he scored a screamer in their previous meeting). But Toshack's goals are there for all to see and Carroll will need to be at his best to get past the 96 the Welshman knocked in.
However, Carroll talent is growing and if he progresses as hoped and with the attributes he possesses, it could well be that he goes on to match or even better the Liverpool legend he is being compared to.
Luis Suarez is without doubt one of the most skillful and exciting talents to be brought into Liverpool Football Club since John Barnes. Such are the skills that this exciting player has in his locker, that we could be on the verge of seeing a new No. 7 Liverpool legend.
As Keegan had, Suarez also has a deft touch, magical skills, can pick a pass, a superb shot, great dribbling ability and supreme confidence. Having scored on his debut, the Uruguayan has become an instant hit.
Suarez is not short on confidence as his first Liverpool goal illustrated; not just a simple tap in but taking on and rounding the goalkeeper in a one on one.
Anyway, the Uruguayan scoring record is one that would be hard pushed to be better by anyone, so he has every reason to be comfortable and poised in front of goal.
Suarez has so many traits similar to those of Keegan.
Suarez and Carroll have all the potential to be Liverpool's new Toshack and Keegan. The two strike partnership have a remarkable resemblance to each other.
Carroll has everything Toshack had and Suarez play bears a uncanny similarity to Keegan's. This would suggest that Suarez and Carroll have every chance of becoming another lethal Liverpool strike partnership akin in more ways than one to Toshack and Keegan.
Whether Suarez and Carroll go on to become Liverpool's new Toshack and Keegan, one thing is for certain: If they do then the glory days at Anfield will certainly be back and back with a bang.
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