14 Feb 2012

Luis Suarez: Is he being played in the wrong position at Liverpool?

A few months ago, I argued that Luis Suarez should be played as a link-man for Liverpool instead of an out and out striker. The Uruguayan is a fantastic player but is it possible that the team could benefit more if he was played in a slightly different position?

Suarez has has a decent on Liverpool since arriving, but as we've seen, he's quite wasteful in front of goal, and with only 6 goals in 20 league games this season, he doesn't score as often as he should.

We've often seen Suarez played upfront on his own but is this really his most effective position? We rarely saw similar players like Kenny Dalglish and Peter Beardsley toiling upfront alone; they usually played behind a prolific striker, which added a different dimension to the team.

Suarez has many of the same qualities as Beardsley and Dalglish: great skill; superb short-range passing; excellent positioning; ability to intelligently find space; capable of creating numerous chances etc.

In my view, I think the whole balance of the team could possibly change for the better if Suarez was played behind the striker, and had a license to roam around, create chances and generally cause havoc.

Dalglish and Beardsley scored lots of goals every season playing just off the striker, and I'm sure Suarez would too; he would also create goals for his team-mates, which could conceivably take the goal-scoring pressure off him a little.

I guess what I'm suggesting here is that £35m Andy Carroll should be Liverpool's 'main' striker, just as Ian Rush and John Aldridge were the main strikers in their respective teams.

This would mean that Suarez would need to be disciplined enough to allow Carroll to play ahead of him, but I think he's proved he can do that. With Liverpool's current players, we could be looking at a team like this:

----------- Reina

Johnson----- Agger --- Carra ---- Enrique

Gerrard -- Spearing --- Adam --- Bellamy

---------------- Suarez

------------------- Carroll


* Pressure taken off Suarez to score all the time.
* Share the goals around the team more.
* Not so reliant on one player for goals.
* Get the best out of Andy Carroll.
* It worked for Dalglish and Rush; Beardsley and Aldridge; Toshack and Keegan; why not Suarez and Carroll?


I can't see any, but I'm sure people will be able to come up with some!

What do you think? Worth a shot?

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. and getting Torres back for 25m at the end of the season would be an even better combo...

  2. Good article Jaimie. One thing is certain u simply cannot play him up front on his own. He best position is in a 433 coming in from the left using that low center of gravity and playing right across the forward line with freedom

  3. with no natural wingers and lacking creativity in the team, maybe he could be played out wide. but think who ever plays up front struggles due to how the team is set up and the inefectivness of the likes of downing.
    roll on the summer.................sadly

  4. I like the idea of Suarez behind Carroll.  The team looks good with that setup but i question Spearing being the starting DM, he got shown up for class against Man U.  Something different i would like to see them play Kelly there instead. He is good defensively and has plenty of mobility to play in the centre. 

  5. NO! on Torres. Look at Suarez' returns for Ajax and Groningen and before in Uruguay. In 2009-10 for Ajax Suarex scored 49 goals in all competitions and 33 in 35 eredivisie matches! I know it's not the prem but it's a serious league and these are really massive numbers. I'm not really familiar with his positioning at Ajax but it would be wise to have a look at it and use him in that manner. Just off the striker could be quite handy as I'm sure he's be prolific in any position. He just needs to get on with it and start knocking 'em in....

  6. I agree but I think KK thinks that only having 2 in the middle with Suarez roaming would leave the back open. Neverthess I really would like to see Gerrard on the right as I think he has the skill and ability to wip early balls in and also link up with Glen Johnson really well and those 2 would regularly beat their opposing winger and fullback with ease. Gerrard is not as quick as say walcott or lennon but he is definately alot more clever and cute with his technique. He can beat a player with a quick take and turn, a meg, a one-two or simply using his body to roll the oppenent. How about this........


  7. This has been tried - and it failed, because Andy Carroll does not have the right skills for a finishing striker. The best forward combination this season has been Suarez, Bellamy and Maxi - Against Chelsea Bellamy scored a fantastic goal with great link up play with them both. To be fair Andy Carroll has improved a lot over the last month. The team still has a great chance of making the top four and winning two Cups!! C'mon Reds!! YNWA

  8. Sorry Maxi scored the goal (Bellamy Assist)

  9. We should be playing a 4-4-1-1 With the Agger/Skrtel centre backs and Kelly/Enrique at fullback. Lucas and Adam in the middle with Bellamy and Glen johnson on the wings and a combo of either Gerrard and Carroll or Suarez and Kuyt up front. Playing Gerro further up the pitch means he doesnt have to be a box to box player and will hopefully allow him to play longer for us. Johnson is a better wing back than straight full back so i'd give him a go on the wing. Plus with the likes of Hendo, Spearing, Coates, Doni, Downing, Maxi.etc......we have a bit of depth on the bench too.

  10. Fully agree with you !!

    He is a wide forward and therefore utilised best in a kind of 4-3-3 formation.

    We just need another wide forward and a pacy mobile centre forward and need to get rid of Downing !!

    Our strikeforce would then be ....

    Wide forwards // Suarez/New/Bellamy/Maxi
    Centre forwards // Carroll/New/Kuyt

    The defense and midfield looks strong enough to me, as there are a few kids coming through ......

    I really hope we have a look at attacking players in the summer !! We need a few !!

  11. Even better ....sell Carroll....and get someone like Huntelaar or Cavani as the main striker...
    Have Suarez just behind him....it would be goals galore....

    Bellamy is not a winger... he is better in a front-three...

    Downing should be sold....and we should get someone like Juan Vargas

  12. I think you may of hit the nail on the head.. Suarez seems more of a creator similar to Silva who doesn't score too many either. Suarez with Bellamy just ahead of him I think would be best. I haven't seen much of them together, but one time sticks in my mind in a cup game and they were brilliant together..

  13. Agree, he is skillful n can create play for another finisher (like the old Owen or Torres) For this position, hopefully Caroll can pick up form but i would prefer Bellamy. In this summer, Liverpool should consider  Higuain, Tevez, Cavanni....(i love Torres but it would risky to take him back)

  14. WK don't take this the wrong way but this constant BRING HIM BACK talk is what got us landed with a Manager who had not been in the management for 10 YEARS as our Manager now !

    Torres is not the player he was, Kenny is not the Manager he was.

    JAIMIE...please explain why in your suggested team you feel that it's sensible to play AGGER (who is left footed) as the RIGHT sideded Centre Back?
    Why have you dropped Skertel (who plays right sided centre back) in Favour or Carragher whom you have placed as the LEFT SIDED Centre Back?

    Frannkly we're in deep DOO DOO thanks to some terrible purchases last summer by Kenny.
    Kenny needs to go at the end of the season so that a younger manager who has MODERN ideas can be brought in and clear OUT the dross.

    We should next season promote the academy players and build a team with the objective of being back in the Champions league within 4 years.


  15. What we need this summer is a decent left winger and get rid of a passenger by the name of Downing. When we bought him in a last min panick buy for a shocking 20m, I thought we have been had. I even said to a close friend if downing makes it at liverpool I'll eat ur shoe. I played as a winger myself for nearly 18 years and think he's a disgrace especially with his attitude which waz shocking against man utd. He got to be worse than biscan and for those fans who backed him, shows how much they really know about football. i would personally give our reserve team players a chance before the end of the season like raheem & co. No real world class winger player will come to liverpool if by chance we do not get into europe next season.

  16. A good theory imo. but this only works if Carroll IS scoring

  17. Huntelaar, definately! He's a big, fast, strong striker and he's prolific. His face didn't fit at Real or Milan but he'd be awesome for us with the amount of chances we create. Having a player of this calibre with a similar goals return would make the difference between fighting for 4th and fighting for 1st.
    And on the Torres debate, no sentiment here but I'd have him back. He formed Liverpool's most lethel strike partnership OF ALL TIME* with Gerrard, can you imagine the damage we would do with him playing alongside Suarez & this new dynamo called Bellamy?

    * this is from LFCtv in autumn, there was a feature run to see the club's top ten strike pairings. The criteria were a minimum of 2 seasons together and it was the goals to games ratio when both were playing. So yes, I'd have him back, back where he belongs.

  18. JK - I have been saying the same thing for a long time, and I agree with you completely. My only concern in the way you set up the team is Gerrard as a wide player. I think that in actual fact the role that Suarez is best in is not dissimilar to the role Gerrard currently excels in. Its also similar to Bellamy's role, although Bellamy is more of a wide player, coming in from the side, whereas Suarez and Gerrard are predators in the gap behind the Striker. I think that this set up will get the best out of Carroll, also by the way. And to be honest, I think it will also help to develop players like Downing, because there will always be a poacher to pick up a knock-down or a hurried clearance off the goal-line. Not sure what it means for Gerrard though. I like Bellamy out wide, as is Maxi an option, and I think in the medium to long term (and we cannot always assume we can just buy new wings etc, real life is not the same as Football Manager) Downing must be seen as the rightful wing man. Lets hope he gets more confidence and improves. Which means that midfield will be a variation on Henderson, Adam and Leiva, with the backup of Spearing or Shelvey maybe. 

    I guess that Maxi may go soon, as might Kuyt, and Bellamy can't be relied upon to start every game. So maybe Gerrard has to take a wider position after all. 
    Last year there was a bit of discussion about Johnston on the wing, and Kelly taking his place at the back. I wonder if that is still a realistic option (if it ever was)??

  19. ---------------------reina-------------------------

  20. Thing is, long term I cannot see Maxi and Bellamy being regulars (Maxi might even go). Its a pity, cos Maxi has skill, but KD doesn't seem to rate him. Given the outlay, and the reality of our next transfer window, I think a formation has to be developed that gets something out of Carroll. Bellamy, Maxi, Suarez is far more exciting to watch, I will agree, but I can't see it happening again.
    One other point, that trinity works if we win the  midfield. With three up front, either our midfield could be forced to sit very deep, or as we saw against United, the one holding midfielder can get over-run. Against Chelsea, when we won, we bossed the midfield because they played a kind of 4-3-3. The trinity worked partly because we had the extra man in Kuyt. But I agree that those four have given us more movement, and that was the basis of the success I think - the 'front four' (although actually 3 midfielders) could change formation through-out the game. 

  21. agree for once but he still has 2 improve on his passing. carol should never have been dropped for the utd match

  22. Totally agree about suarez, should be playing a deeper role just behind Carroll. However, I would have a Skrtel/Agger partnership at the back and Adam/Lucas in the middle (with a fully fit team). Sorry to say I would drop Carra and Gerrard all together and have Gerrard coming on as a sub. Just feel he isn't the player he once was and is badly of form. We need to move forward as a team and allow other players to shine.






    Come summer I would bring in players like Isla, Sinclair, Hoilett and De Jong and let about 10 players go...Cole, Aqua, Maxi, Kuyt, Darby ETC

  23. JK its true but why are we waiting on Hazard?A 433 positioning with SUarez/Kuyt/Hazard can be tremendous.
    Soon opposition defenders will study SUarez so the best option is what you have just said.Let him roam about as he will dribble and create spaces for Kuyt et all to score and sometimes score himself

  24. I think for me liverpool need to be a bit more forceful with their formation.  

    How About:





    Experience, attitude, Workrate.. Swap Adam and Lucas when fit..

  25. Didn't he play further forward at Ajax though?
    He also plays as the furthest forward Uruguay, with Forlan playing off him and Cavani out wide.

    Seems more like a Aguero type player, a player who likes to play alongside someone, though not necessarily behind someone. At City, Dzeko-Aguero play in a orthodox front pairng, Aguero doesn't play like a second-striker a la Rooney, as they stay fairly close to each other. Silva, like Mata, comes inside as a attacking playmaker, hence no need for Aguero drop off constantly like a second-striker. 

    Carroll and Suarez could have the same dynamic as Dzeko and Aguero but the latter rely on Silva's movement and creativity closely behind them, when he comes inside from wings or playing centrally. That is something we lack or maybe can use a different style like Gerrard.

    Suarez is nothing like Silva, as someone mentioned above. He probably needs a Silva-type player to bring out the best in him, if anything, just like Silva does for Aguero.

    Anyway, there is some reward in playing hoofball to Carroll, as seen of late. Maybe if we can combine that well with our usual passing game, it would give us another dimension to our attacking. We are too flat and monotonous with our passing game of late.

    Anyhoo, I'm all for Suarez in the hole behind Carroll. Certainly agree with where Gerrard is in your line up, I simply don't trust him to be a central midfielder in a two-man midfield again

  26. Totally agree, sorry to see the decline in Torres, but it is a decline and to think that people would be prepared to refund Chelsea some of the money they wasted by buying back a player who is showing no sign of being anywhere near what he was is just a sign of the gross stupidity going around at the moment. Torres wants back to Spain, in my opinion, and will be at a top 6 club there. Couldn't see Real or Barcelona buying him, but any of the other sides might be interested.

    Couldn't agree more, honesty of nostalgia and hope. And a new manager.

  27. Let's be honest here guys .... Downing and Henderson were woeful buys by Kenny; overpriced and not needed !! What we really needed was jus a few additional players for our playing philosophy (4-3-3 formation, "pass & move football") back then (the end of last season) ....

    We should rectify our mistakes by selling Downing and buying skillful wide forwards and a pacy, mobile centre forward and no I don't want us to sell Carroll. We need a good squad and Andy is a great alternative to have and who knows how he develops ....

    For all those who will mention that Carroll will need wingers to work, I don't think so - we have really good full backs, who will have the freedom to go forward and cross and we also have the likes of Gerrard and Adam to cross from deep midfield. Then there are the wide forwards too. Not to forget that Andy looks better and better with the ball on the deck. It seems like he is adapting to our playing style. His shooting looks top class too. He just needs to get more into shooting positions .....

    We need to start playing our "pass & move" football once again. We have already played this classy, fluid, attacking football style  at the end of last season, but Kenny chose to abandon it.

    Now the time has come to rectify his mistakes and turn back to the way of playing football he knows best !!!!


  28. I personally do not rate spearing, too slow, small and first touch is poor. Made 3 crucial mistakes in a short first time spell...hence why we should have shipped him out. So what if he's a locally boy, if ur not good enough you have no right to be in the first team. You do ur talking on the pitch and unfortunately he's come very short....1) carragher concedes penalty after spearing looses balance attempting a drag back inside the 25yrd box. 2) penalty against fulham 3) looses possession agsinst man utd which lead to their 2nd goal.
    Also tries the alonso passes which never come off. I would go with adam as he is the best out of a bad bunch. We need investment for a real effective defensive midfielder to compete with lucas

  29. Our best team without a doubt, no carragher or spearing (weakest links) and jamie what ground do they justify a start, based on evidence so far this season.  Very strange one from you Jamie infact SHOCKING??

    best line up going forward

    Kelly, Skertel, Aggar, Enrique
    Johnson, Gerrard, Adam, Bellamy
              Carroll, Suarez

  30. totally agree with kelly johnson combo..........makes sense always has, but hey wat do we know!!

  31. I'd have picked the very same team man! Gerrard was amazing the season he spent on the right with us, and he's the only player at liverpool at the moment whole can pick a pass onto Carolls head. Suarez, likewise is the only player capable of penetrating the oppositions back four with the ball at his feet (bar bellamy on occasions). And Carroll will score goals if he gets the service! 

    It really worries me that Dalglish hasn't worked this out yet??? 

  32. Whats the point of the article ? this idea was the plan in the first place, Suarez playing behind Carroll. Then there were problems. Carroll's injury and latterly lack of form, plus playing with only 4 in midfield we were getting outplayed there, without Gerrard and then without Lucas, we do not have a midfield 4 that worked. The team looked better with 5 in midfield, more solid, which left Suarez to lead the line alone, after all we cannot pick 12 !  I guess having only 2 in centre mid might work with Gerrard and Lucas but certainly not with Adam involved. Still feel the 4-2-3-1 is the best option with the players we have. Maybe with Suarez and Bellamy as the width in the 3 behind Carroll ? Gerrard central in the hole. Lucas and either Henderson or Adam holding.


    Johnson              Skrtel                     Agger               Enrique

                                Lucas               Adam or Henderson

    Suarez                                 Gerrard                        Bellamy


    who knows ??

  33. i'm sorry but i don't understand kenny's way of thinking...why don't we start a petition and send a formal letter to the guy !

  34. Your correct but the fans are SCARED to ask to ADMIT that KD is not GOOD ENOUGH.

    It will take another summer of dross purchases and sterile play, we'll struggle on until Xmas if the FANS have there way and then it will DAWN on them that KD is rubbish.

    If FEWNWAY SPORTS GROUP in the form of John Henry act with any LUCK Kenny will be removed or step down in at the end of the season.

    The said reality is the FANS don't want to admit it to themselves that KENNY DALGLISH is not going to win us the Premier League.


  35. Suarez's passing is pretty poor imo so I don't think he'd be suited to the link man/playmaker role

    I agree with Gothmog - Suarez's greatest strength is his dribbling ability and ability to create his own shot, so he should be played on the left of an attacking trio with the freedom to drift off the line and into the box (as Sturridge does to such good effect from the opposite flank for Chelsea)