Luis Suarez made his eagerly anticipated return to the Liverpool team last night at Old Trafford in the third round of the Capital One Cup following his 10-match domestic ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic back in April.
Despite putting in a good individual performance the Uruguayan found himself on the losing team as his side were beaten and eliminated from the competition by bitter rivals Manchester United in a 1-0 defeat.
Suarez will be expecting make his first Premier League appearance of the season this weekend when his side travel to manager-less Sunderland in a game that fans of Liverpool will probably be expecting to pick up all three points in, especially now they have Suarez back. But will he really provide the boost that the team will need if they are serious about making a challenge for the top four this season?
Well, looking at the stats maybe not.
Since the arrival of Suarez on Merseyside in January 2011, Liverpool have played 95 Premier League Games of which Suarez has played in 77, leaving 18 Games in which he has not appeared. Of the 77 Premier League games he has played Liverpool have only won 39% with 30 wins, whereas without Suarez The Reds have enjoyed a 61% win ratio with 11 wins from 18 games.
Liverpool have also averaged a marginally better goal return per game without Suarez than with him averaging 1.61 goals a game without him and 1.58 with him. They also concede less goals when Suarez is not in the team averaging an impressive 0.88 goals against per game without as opposed to the 1.08 they average with him in the side, although as an attacker it is hard to put too much blame on Suarez for this statistic.
I am a huge fan of Suarez's footballing ability but I have to admit I am really beginning to wonder whether he is a good fit at Liverpool. They clearly seem to get better results without him and his sometimes erratic behaviour must be a worry for his team mates.
In his relatively short time at Anfield, Suarez has received two lengthy bans. The first was for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra for which he received an eight match ban and the second was for the bite on Ivanovic which came with a 10 match ban.
Suarez's commitment to his side must also come into question after the summer transfer rumours that linked him with a move to Arsenal resulted in the Uruguayan being forced to train alone after Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers accused Suarez of going against the values of the club when the 26 year old tried to force through a transfer to Arsenal after 'The Gunners' made a £40 million plus £1 offer for the striker which Suarez himself believed would trigger a release clause in his contract.
It did not trigger such a clause and Suarez was told he would not be allowed to train with the rest of the Liverpool squad until he apologised for his actions, which he eventually did.
Suarez is desperate to play Champions League football and so are Liverpool who believe Luis may be key to helping them achieve that goal, but if Liverpool fall away from the top four again this season, how long will it be before Suarez's erratic behaviour raises its ugly head and once again costs Liverpool dearly?
Only time will tell but I seriously doubt we've seen the last of Suarez's antics and if he does once again step out of line Liverpool must surely consider whether he is really worth standing by any more.
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