Luis Suarez has been involved in his fair share of controversial moments this year to say the least. With the Ivanovic biting incident as well as the high profile speculation during the summer regarding his reluctance to stay at Liverpool for another season, his phenomenal form during the 2012/2013 campaign had been somewhat tainted. You wouldn’t have blamed the Anfield faithful for turning on their star striker but due to the overwhelming support of the fans for Suarez to stay, led to an incredible turn of events where he decided to stay loyal to the club and there was even speculation that he was interested in signing a contract extension.
Now with Suarez integrated back into the team after apologising for his misdemeanours to his team-mates and manager, he had to face the reality that he was still in the midst of his 10 match ban. Having watched him over the years, there was no arguing with the fact that whenever he steps onto the football pitch he will give nothing less than 100%. The question was however, with all the controversies thus far as well as being banned until the end of September, would Suarez be able to recapture the form of last season which led many people to regard him as one the best striking talents on the planet? Having returned for the last 4 matches, the simple answer to that is a resounding yes.
Scoring his 4th hat-trick for the Reds against West Brom on Saturday, Suarez was at his scintillating best. From the first minute it was evident that he was raring to go and determined to score against a team he had surprisingly not found the net against before. When analysing his three goals, we can see that he is a threat whenever given an opportunity within the final third. All three goals are different in that they show different aspects of Luis’s diverse attacking nature and his willingness to put himself in positions to either score or create chances (3 created vs. West Brom).
Breakdown of goals
The first goal could only be described as a typical Luis Suarez goal. His ability to run at and past defenders with ease is second to none and on this occasion with a couple of defenders around him it was no different. “Nut-megging” has been one of his key features when driving at defence and credit is due here because defenders are still prone to falling victim even with its frequent use. A simple ball through the legs of the defender and a cool finish was a great start to the match and eased fears of goal-drought afternoon as was the case in the fixture between these two teams last season.
In my opinion I would say that the header for his second goal of the afternoon probably one of the finest headed goals I have ever seen. There was two elements to this finish which was brilliant. The first of which was his quick reaction after as slightly short pass to Cissokho which led the left-back to play somewhat of a skewed through ball into the box at pace. However, the anticipation of Suarez to read the situation as soon as he did was excellent and not only that but to produce a finish from 17 yards out (clocked at 38mph) into the top corner was just a joy to witness.
His third showed that even at set-pieces he can be a danger. Despite not being the tallest of players, he is still able to manoeuvre into positions to make himself a goal threat and this is was exactly the case by getting in front of his defender to head into the far corner. All three finishes show the various qualities Luis’s has at his disposal in front of goal leaving opposition defenders with very little respite when he’s around.
“I think it was his first hat-trick here at Anfield and you saw his commitment to the team and what we’re trying to do. It was a wonderful performance.”
– Brendan Rodgers on Suarez’s performance.
Involvement and SAS partnership
Within the 4 games he has played since making his first appearance against Sunderland this season, he has been involved in at least one goal in every one of those games either with a goal or an assist. This statistic on its own is enough to determine how important the Uruguayan is to Liverpool offensively and with his capability to bring other players into play, he will always be considered a danger man whenever he’s on the field.
When viewing the individual player stats from the game, you can clearly see that Suarez was by far the most influential as he topped the list for every attacking aspect listed above. The most telling stat from the data above must from the minutes per shot. With a chance on goal (on/off) registered every 11.13 minutes, it shows how often he participates in the overall opportunities created by Liverpool and how defenders will most than certainly be kept on their toes.
On his own he can be a handful but in tandem with the in-form Daniel Sturridge, they make a devastating partnership. Since Suarez’s return, in the four games they have played alongside each other they have returned combined figures of 10 goals and 3 assists which is prolific by any standard. However it’s not just the numbers that are proof of a budding connection between the two but the great understanding the duo have when leading the line up front. With the ability of sensing where one another will make darting runs or position themselves for an opening, it is not surprising why many people any regarding them as the most lethal duo in the league.
More to come?
With Suarez merely only playing a handful of games, you won’t be wrong to presume that this may just be another season where he can flourish. With the team now suited to Brendan Rodgers tactics and able to play more freely on top of having Sturridge and Coutinho (when returning from injury) playing in free roles behind him, teams will have to thoroughly so their homework when coming up against Suarez and co. With the he has started the season so far, there is no doubt about where his heart lies and so for now Liverpool fans can look forward to what can be a promising campaign. We’ll pretend that nothing happened over the summer.