Luis Suarez Returns : What Does This Mean for on-Form Andy Carroll?

Shree Ganesh RajendranContributor IIFebruary 3, 2012

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31:  Andy Carroll of Liverpool celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool at Molineux on January 31, 2012 in Wolverhampton, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

On Monday, Liverpool welcome third-placed Tottenham Hotspur to Anfield on the back of three hugely impressive performances over the last seven days. 

This match will mark the return of Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez from the eight-match ban handed to him for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

In the lengthy period that has seen the controversial striker missing a rather heavy fixture list, Liverpool have seen both sides to what football has to offer.

The Reds endured a few setbacks, losing heavily to Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers in the league, while also enjoying a few highs, most notably the recent elimination of both the Manchester clubs from the domestic cups and the 3-0 rout over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday.

This period has also seen the return of form of Andy Carroll and Dirk Kuyt, the former really showing some marked improvement in the last couple of games after a disappointing 12 months in his life at Merseyside. Fans have been singing praises on the big man after he assisted Kuyt's winner against Manchester United and scored against Wolves.

With Suarez set to be on the pitch again, what does this mean for the £35 million man? 

On January last year, when Liverpool recruited the services of both Carroll and Suarez to compensate for the exit of a certain Fernando Torres to Chelsea, the one thing Kenny Dalglish had in his mind was to form a big man - little man partnership for the Reds. 

Dalglish did try implementing the idea, but boy did it fail. Suarez looked visibly frustrated with the movement of Carroll, and Dalglish knew his fantasy had to remain a fantasy. 

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 02:  Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez of Liverpool look dejected after the first West Brom goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool at The Hawthorns on April 2, 2011 in West Bromwi
Michael Regan/Getty Images

After that, King Kenny played Suarez alone up front. That meant Carroll had to settle for a place in the bench, and he would go on to only make five minute cameos at most. It can't be said that Suarez thrived when he was tasked to be the lone man upfront as on many occasions a little support would have done no harm.

This situation just speaks volumes of how shambolic Carroll's performances were but I cannot help but say that had he been given a longer time to play coming off the bench, he might have gained some confidence.

After the eight-match ban was dished out to Suarez, Dalglish stuck with the tried and trusted 4-1-4-1 formation and played Carroll as the lone forward. Initially, Carroll was just performing the same way he had been doing for far too long in his Liverpool career, but after probably realizing that this is his best chance to impress the fans and his manager he has been rather hard working in the last four matches.

Much of his good performances comes sewn to his willingness to adapt to the Liverpool way and not the other way round. He has also been in sync with the rest of his teammates, most notably Craig Bellamy.

With Carroll in his best run of form in a Reds shirt, will Dalglish continue to start him or will he be warming the bench again once Suarez returns against Tottenham?

Personally, I would like to see Carroll and Suarez in the same team sheet. I know that their partnership has not been effective, but now the Reds have captain Steven Gerrard back. It is fair to say that Captain Marvel has not really had the opportunity to play alongside Suarez and Carroll in the same team. Carroll too has been enjoying the excellent service of Gerrard in the past month. Add in Suarez to the equation and that might just be the trick towards a good end to the season.

What Dalglish decides to do come Monday would be as interesting as watching the match itself. Let us just see.


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