Luis Suarez demonstrated his worth to Liverpool after a week in which the Uruguayan made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, scoring the winner against QPR to keep Liverpool in the hunt for a top four spot.
Red boss Kenny Dalglish, who should know a thing or two about what it takes to become a Liverpool icon, heaped praise upon his charge, saying he was “running out of compliments” to give the former Ajax man.
While it has only been 12 months since Suarez took on the mantle for next in line to wear the famous number 7 shirt, he has already carved out a reputation for himself as one of the leading lights at Anfield - but how does he compare to his predecessors?
GMF runs the rule over the men who have donned the now iconic number 7 shirt and sees how the feisty Uruguayan stacks up against them.
The man who helped make the 7 shirt what it is today, Kevin Keegan remains one of the finest players to don a Liverpool shirt of any number, scoring 100 goals in 323 games for the club and helping them fill the trophy cabinet nicely.
Renowned for his exuberance and his skillful nature – not unlike Suarez – the Geordie messiah was the creative hub and spark of Bill Shankly’s second great side in the 70’s and scored more than his fair share of goals to boot.
The end of his time at Liverpool may have been tarnished somewhat by his acrimonious switch to Hamburg, but Keegan was one of the original star footballers of the 70’s and remains rightly revered to this very day.
Is Suarez better: No, but maybe one day…..
All hail the King. Kenny Dalglish borders on saintly around Anfield thanks to spells at the club as both a player and manager.
Considered one of the finest British players of all time, Dalglish was the embodiment of Liverpool’s success in the 70’s and 80’s, leading a team packed with talent to match the achievements of the famous Bill Shankly sides from years gone by.
Six league titles, three European Cups, four League Cups, one FA Cup, and a smattering of Charity Shields all found their way to Anfield with Dalglish leading the charge, and that’s not to mention his exploits as manager.
But more than his goals, games and trophies Dalglish is adored because of his love for the club and commitment towards it. An almost impossible act to emulate.
Is Suarez better: No, But King Kenny must see some of himself in Suarez after defending him so vehemently
Peter Beardsley is an unlikely figure to don the number 7 shirt after the regal Dalglish and Keegan, instead relying on determination and a killer eye for goal to stand out from the crowd.
In tandem with fellow new arrival at Anfield, John Barnes, and strike partner John Aldridge, Beardsley helped Liverpool claim two league titles and an FA Cup.
Perhaps most similar to Suarez of all the candidates for the finest number 7 in Liverpool’s history, Anfield has some fine memories of Beardsely, although perhaps not as many as their should have been.
Is Suarez better: Yes, or he is certainly on course to be in a few seasons’ time.
A Liverpool man through and through (even though he supported Everton as a boy), Steve Mcmanaman is perhaps an unlikely inclusion in the great Liverpool number 7 debate.
The floppy haired winger who formed part of a promising band of players rising up through the ranks in the 1990’s certainly deserves recognition for his achievements at Anfield.
McManaman played a total of 364 games for Liverpool and scored 66 times, but it was his trademark mazy runs that endeared him to the crowd, which often resulted in spectacular goals.
A move to Real Madrid and a Champions League winners medal followed for McManaman, but to the Kop he’ll always be remembered fondly, even if he fell short of the standards set by the likes of Dalglish and Keegan.
Is Suarez better: Yes, he has more to his game, although Suarez has a long way to go to show he can be as consistent as McManaman.
On paper it looked the perfect fit. Joe Cole, the virtuoso talent that could light up a game with one artistic stroke of his right boot being handed the number 7 shirt at Anfield, history beckoned.
Unfortunately football isn’t played on paper but in front of expectant fans, who saw their hopes rise and fall in the space of little under a year.
Signed by then boss Roy Hodgson, Cole failed to secure a regular starting spot and was sent off in his first game for the club.
The former West Ham and Chelsea man evidently failed to impress a man who knows a little something about wearing the number 7 shirt, Kenny Dalglish, and was farmed out on Loan to French outfit Lille before the 2011/12 season.
Is Suarez better: in terms of raw ability it could well be level, but Suarez has blown Cole out of the water already
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