I touched on it in an article yesterday about the positives and negatives from the Wolves game, but I think it is worthy of elaborating about how the Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez began to gel during the match on Saturday. You can see for yourself in the video below in Carroll’s best bits how Suarez and the Geordie are beginning to link up better, thanks to StrawberryFieldsLFC for the footage:
So why has the partnership begun to gel? As you can see from the five minute highlight reel, one of the most noticeable things is that Andy is playing a lot more to his strengths. Some of this can be attributed to his team mates too who are beginning to learn how best to use the 22 year old and the rest due to Andy playing differently himself. At the end of last season when he was fit, and at the start of this season, 1 of 2 things has been happening.
1) The Reds have been pumping up long balls to Carroll so he can hold up the ball or flick the ball on. The problem has been the Geordie has been too isolated and either flicks the ball on to nobody or cannot keep possession of the ball because of an aimless hoof up to him.
2) Carroll was playing far too deep when the Reds have the ball higher up the pitch. There were too many times where the Reds have got into good crossing positions and Andy hasn’t been at the back post where he should have been.
The first issue was generally down to the fault of the team while the second issue could be contributed to Carroll’s lack of confidence. Both factors combined to mean that Carroll wasn’t been utilised to the best of his abilities.
Against Wolves, these problems seemed to have been addressed to some extent, and it is benefiting the partnership between himself and Suarez. Carroll, even when playing up front alongside Suarez, has been too isolated and with aimless long balls being pumped up to him, it was not a surprise he was ineffectual.
The likes of Steve Clarke and Kevin Keen have surely been working on these problems in training as it was evident that the Reds elected to play the long ball a lot more selectively and you can see that Carroll knocked down the ball to both Suarez on a number of occasions and once to Steven Gerrard later on in the game to get a long shot away. Players such as Suarez were playing a lot closer to Carroll, and the link up play between the pair improved exponentially because of it. You can see a partnership beginning gel as a direct result of the pairing actually playing as a pair.
Another big factor is of course how Carroll elected to play the game himself. There seemed to be a lot more energy about Andy around the pitch, closing down players and making forward runs. It paid dividends in the fact he actually played a lot more of the game inside the opposition penalty area than he has done recently. He was nearly rewarded with a goal but was unlucky to hit the post from a header.
So in conclusion, we saw a more confident Andy Carroll on Saturday, playing to his strengths with the team better able to utilise his abilities, and in the process helping him strike up better combination play with Luis Suarez . Let’s hope he continues in the same vein of form in his next match and he gets a goal too.
Article courtesy of David Tully from Live4Liverpool