By Shaun Dowling
‘Go out there and drop hand grenades’ was the words the great Bill Shankly once told Kevin Keegan. At first glance, it may be what Suarez will be doing over the next few months and one was already dropped on Torres memory last night.
After the game, I was reading someone comparing Suarez to Fowler and then Carroll closer to Collymore, but for some of us who are a bit older it may seem closer to Kevin Keegan and John Toshack. Remember Kenny has given Suarez the number 7 shirt. Wow, what an honour – Kenny giving you his shirt to play in. It was Keegan´s before. We know no one has managed to fill it regularly since Kenny retired and after last night there wasn´t any weight on it at all.
Great move by Kenny as he didn´t give the press time to write long comparisons of the two. Also like Keegan, it was the first game and the young Uruguayan scored what a start. This too happened to Keegan against Nottingham Forrest 30 years ago, and one more thing Keegan hadn´t trained with the first team either and was always in the reserves.
Can you imagine Kenny saying the same thing to Suarez as Shankly said to Keegan in that very first game for the club, ‘just go out and enjoy yourself’. It seems Suarez did just that and what an impact he made that last week´s turmoil seems forgotten.
What more can we say about comparing these the number 7s? It may be too early to compare, of course, but the one thing is that when Shanks first contracted Keegan he commented that he looked at his physique that he would make a good boxer. He even made him take off his shirt and tell the media that Keegan was built like a light middleweight.
For those who saw Keegan play he fought for everything, had fantastic energy and never stopped running. Luis has been called a fighter in the press and this gives us another comparison. I don´t think Luis will be squaring up to any Billy Bremner types as Keegan did in the Charity Shield. However, it may be from the admiration coming from Ajax that Suarez´s work ethic in doing extra training even after coming back from South America may also be similar to the once 2 time European Player of the year and also set an example which made him a leader at his former club.
I remember in my first game at Anfield watching Keegan take the corner, and with stars in my eyes I´m sure it was Toshack who headed in front of the Kop as we ran out 3 v 1 winner against Middleborough that freezing Wednesday night. Could this happen with Carroll too?
Keegan also had a special relationship with Shanks and that romantic time seems to have been evoked with the return of Dalglish. Every fan that saw Dalglish both play and run the club 20 years ago must have, like me, a tear of happiness in their eye every time The King walks on the field and gives one of his press conferences. It is immense, it is so like Shankly.
One other thing, in his biography Keegan said that Shankly talked about “the club, the ground, the stand the supporter – especially about the supporters. He loved them as much as they adored him.” Who does this sound like?
Now let´s see if Carroll can form that lethal partnership with Suarez as Tosh and Keegan had all those successful years ago. The signs are there so let´s hope our team sees them and more explosions like last night await us.