Brendan Rodgers’ decision to start Luis Suarez alongside Daniel Sturridge to devastating effect in Liverpool’s victory over Sunderland was a reminder of just how rare it is to see a real strike partnership in action in an era of line-leading lone wolves.
With Suarez and Sturridge 6/1 and 8/1 to be Premier League top goalscorer respectively we board a time machine to the nineties to count down the most prolific dynamic duos in the history of the division.
Chris Sutton and Kevin Gallacher 34 goals for Blackburn Rovers in 1997/98
Sutton notched 18 goals to the Scot’s 16 as Blackburn qualified for the UEFA Cup and just how important they were to the cause was made obvious when Rovers were relegated the following season, with both men suffering injury-curtailed campaigns.
Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole – 35 goals for Manchester United in 1998/99
Cole had seemed to be drifting towards the periphery of a striker-packed Red Devils squad following Yorke’s arrival from Aston Villa, but instead they quickly formed a mutual understanding that bordered on telepathy.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney – 37 goals for Manchester United in 2005/06
The sole post-millennial pairing to make it onto the list, Old Trafford scoring legends old and new crossed paths in a goal-laden farewell campaign for the great Dutchman, who left for Real Madrid at the end of the season.
Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand – 41 goals for Newcastle in 1996/97
What to do when you have a 25 goal centre-forward, but you want to bring home another one? Newcastle played them both alongside one another for one devastating season, but despite the superhuman efforts of the twosome they were unable to improve on the previous campaign’s second place.
Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore – 42 goals for Liverpool in 1995/96
Like Shearer subsequently, Collymore broke the British transfer record when arriving in Liverpool for £8.5m and his natural shoulder-of-the-last-man instincts perfectly complimented Fowler’s preference for dropping deep in search of the ball.
Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn – 44 goals for Sunderland in 1999/00
Surprising that it took this long to reach a classic example of the little fella/big fella combo, Quinn was to play the henchman to the Premier League top goalscorer Phillips, but still found time to grab 14 strikes for himself.
Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton – 49 goals for Blackburn Rovers in 1994/95
Sutton’s arrival from Norwich transformed Rovers from nearly men to title winners. Both tall and powerful strikers supplemented their ability to score from distance by feeding off the buffet of crosses from wingers Stuart Ripley and Jason Wilcox.
Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley – 55 goals for Newcastle United in 1993/94
Arguably the clearest demarcation between the number nine and ten roles on this list sees the deep-lying craft of the veteran England international dovetailed beautifully with Cole’s expert marksmanship, pace and movement, with both men breaking the 20 league goal barrier.