All round horrible person.
If you were creating a narrative against Luis Suarez (mentioning no names) you wouldn’t exactly be short on ammunition. Suarez’s time in England has been littered with controversy and the striker has suffered some scathing criticism from the press, former players and opposition supporters.
Some of it justified. Some less so (people still talk about that Mansfield “handball”, really?).
It’s these moments of madness that have made Suarez perhaps *the* most hated footballer on the planet. And that’s some going.
However, ask supporters of Nacional, Groningen, Ajax, Liverpool and Uruguay about Luis Suarez and you’ll be presented with an almost polar opposite take on the 27-year-old.
For all his faults (for which, there appear to be many), this is a man simply adored by the legion of fans that have followed his progress in club and international football. It’s an affection that has led to an unequivocal backing of Suarez – even in the most indefensible of situations.
Regardless, it is Suarez’s performances on the pitch (when he’s available, of course) that has taken him to the hearts of Liverpool supporters in the past three-and-a-half seasons. In a club with such a decorated and distinguished history as Liverpool, it is difficult to press forward an argument for a player who won a single League Cup winners medal to be considered as one of the club’s greatest players.
Despite his relatively short spell at Anfield and lack of honours, that’s exactly what Suarez will go down as. Rarely has such outrageous ability been acquainted with desire, aggression, passion and will-to-win. Usually you get one or the other. Suarez has both in abundance.
Here are seven defining moments in the Liverpool career of Luis Suarez.
1. Goal on debut against Stoke City
With much of the commotion surrounding Fernando Torres’ £50m exit from Liverpool in January 2011 – and, indeed, Andy Carroll’s £35m arrival – the modest £22m outlay on Luis Suarez almost went under the radar. It didn’t take long for El Pistolero to make his mark, though. Just 15 minutes into his second half entrance and Suarez rounded Asmir Begovic to slot home Liverpool’s second on the night in a 2-0 win. The Reds had a new hero.
2. A mesmeric dribble against Manchester United
What better way to endear yourself to Liverpool supporters than to embarrass your fiercest rivals? While Dirk Kuyt might have grabbed a hat-trick in a 3-1 victory, Suarez was by far the outstanding player on the pitch and demonstrated his soon-to-be trademark penalty box dribbles by taking on four Manchester United defenders before slotting a shot underneath Edwin van der Sar – only for Kuyt to take the credit with a tap-in!
3. Scoring from the halfway against Norwich (to complete a hat-trick)
By the 2011/12 season, Suarez’s talent and adaptability to the Premier League were in no doubt. There were, however, question marks over the Uruguayan’s goalscoring prowess. Those skeptics were made to think twice when Suarez completed a simply stunning hat-trick against Norwich City (the first of three against the poor Canaries) thanks to an audacious halfway line chip over John Ruddy.
4. Diving in front of David Moyes
In the build-up to Liverpool’s Merseyside Derby encounter with Everton in 2012, Blues boss David Moyes had been vocal and damning about Suarez’s perceived fallibility to go down too easily in the opposition penalty area. The Scot was soon made to rue his comments though as a fired-up Suarez inspired Liverpool to an early two goal advantage. After Leighton Baines deflected in Suarez’s attempt, the forward made a mockery of Moyes’ pre-match comments by diving in front of the Everton dugout. Ironically, on the day, Everton’s Phil Neville was cautioned for simulation.
5. Goal of the season contender against Newcastle
With Suarez now fully establishing himself as a lethal predator in front of goal, opposition defences were finding themselves powerless to stop the South American’s genius. A seemingly harmless lofted ball forward by Jose Enrique against Newcastle United in November 2012 was controlled instantaneously on the chest by Suarez before his quick-wittedness took him round keeper Tim Kurl for a tap-in.
6. Two astonishing free-kicks in the Europa League
After squandering some clear-cut chances in the first leg of a last 32 tie with Zenit St Petersberg, Suarez and Liverpool found themselves with a mountain to climb in the second game at Anfield. The 2-0 deficit was made yet worse when Jamie Carragher gifted Hulk a goal at the Kop End. Liverpool’s chances of progressing any further looked over. That didn’t stop Suarez from putting on a virtuoso display though and two glorious dead balls re-invigorated the Reds who just fell short of a remarkable comeback.
7. A quad downs Norwich
Following a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic at the end of the 2012/13 season, Suarez had returned to the team in better form than ever before – apparently desperate to make up for lost time. Norwich were the victims once more in December 2013 when Suarez capped a majestic performance with four top drawer strikes. The first; a half volley from all of 40 yards out, the second; a well-timed finish from a corner, the third; a pulsating run and half volley finish from the edge of the area and the fourth; a perfectly placed free-kick.
Suarez ended the season with 31 Premier League goals to his name – despite missing the first five league games – and won acclaim from both peers and the press; landing the prestigious PFA and Writers’ Player Awards.
Have a favourite? Let me know in the comments!