Dalglish plays down Suarez's Keegan qualities

 

It was some assertion to make and John Aldridge felt he should pave the way for it. "I am about to pay Luis Suarez a major compliment," he said after watching the player destroy Manchester United a year ago. "The way he plays the game reminds me of the first time I saw Kevin Keegan in the 1970s."

Given that Keegan's name carries John Toshack's in tow at Anfield, no less than Ian St John does Roger Hunt, a genuine sense has surfaced in the four days since Steven Gerrard completed a hat-trick entirely created by the Uruguayan that the club may be witnessing a nascent partnership befitting those of a glorious past. The manager, Kenny Dalglish, however, doused the idea with cold water yesterday.

"If those two are playing together, they have a good understanding of each other because they are two intelligent footballers, but that is not to say those two are on a different planet to nine others," he said. But the symbiotic way they worked their three derby goals creates an unmistakable sense of promise as Dalglish's side seek a quick return to Wembley tomorrow, in their FA Cup quarter-final with Stoke City.

For a club so bound up in the competition's history – seven-time winners – the prospect of an FA Cup final has receded shockingly amid the internal strife of recent years. They are in the last eight for only the second time in 11 seasons and in their first quarter-final since they lifted the trophy in 2006. Dalglish admitted there was a deficit and was yesterday remembering the first of the seven: Hunt and St John scoring for Bill Shankly in the 2-1 win over Leeds United in 1965. "The FA Cup was lost for a long time here," the manager said. "It was Shanks's first trophy that set the club rolling and that's where the momentum started to build."

His new goalscoring partnership has barely had a chance to establish itself. Gerrard and Suarez have started only eight games together, though the captain's ability to operate on a higher footballing plane than any other in his side's midfield means that Liverpool have averaged 2.5 goals per game this season on the six occasions the two have started. That Gerrard, rather than the striker Suarez, should have been the beneficiary of their partnership against Everton on Tuesday night was a curiosity. With an absence of midfielders bursting forward into the box, Suarez has found himself drawn back too much this season, becoming a creator as much as a scorer. There is an argument that he should be more single-minded about the net.

Dalglish will not care too much about the division of labour, given the way that the two began repairing Liverpool's dismal record of scoring from only 24 per cent of the clear-cut chances which statistically generate 50 per cent of all Premier League goals. Suarez's own conversion rate is a meagre 32 per cent. "We see it in training every day," Dalglish said of their understanding. "It's not just the two of them. They all benefit from each other and the better your passing is, the better you retain the ball and the better chance you have of creating chances."

Stoke sat deep and frustrated Liverpool in the 0-0 draw at Anfield in January, having beaten them at the Britannia Stadium, so Liverpool's struggle to find the net may be tested tomorrow. But Dalglish, for whom Glen Johnson and Craig Bellamy are doubts, does have a knack of wringing performances which mean the most to his club's supporters. "For us, the FA Cup set us on a path that everyone that supported Liverpool either then and since has appreciated," he said. "Maybe it has a special place among the hearts of the fans."

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all