Luis Suarez has started to prove that he is among the best players in the world whilst playing in the world’s most difficult domestic football league.
He arrived at Anfield with quite a buzz in a £22 million deal, bringing with him a large briefcase of controversy and a healthy dose of skill. All was forgiven when he scored a lovely finish in his first substitute appearance. Little did we know, the next two years would bring forth acts of utter madness and even more displays of genius.
You see, when Suarez signed for Liverpool, before you could ask who this man actually was, he charmed us with his goalscoring and his innocently awkward smile. We were charmed, and decided not to look into his past or his deficiencies. In that act, we did not realize that he had ran away from Ajax after being involved in a biting incident in a Eredivisie league match that resulted in a seven-match suspension.
His discipline record wasn’t immaculate if you count the red card at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, a suspension for head-butting a referee, and a five-game stretch for Groningen where he was given three yellow cards and a red.
At Ajax, he had seven yellow cards, a confrontation with teammate Albert Luque which resulted in a team suspension, all during ONE season. Controversy seemed to be a part of Suarez’s repertoire, and unfortunately, he was bringing it along to Liverpool.
It didn’t take long, the Manchester United match was a microcosm of his career. The architect of a Liverpool’s attack, he was a consistent threat and helped Liverpool get a draw. Along with the point, he also decided to call Patrice Evra the n-word. Long story short, Evra wasn’t impressed, neither was the FA, Kenny Dalglish hadn’t a clue and thought such language was permitted, and Suarez was banned for eight matches.
Suarez probably made a new friend in John Terry (see: John Terry ban for racial slur on Anton Ferdinand), and enemies with Evra, the Ferdinand brothers, Sir Alex Fergusion, oh to be honest, all of England.
The next season was going quite well for him until he decided to bite Branislav Ivanovic, as another eight-match ban resulted from that. He also managed a one-match ban for an obscene gesture at Fulham. He accumulated 10 yellow cards that season. Just incredible.
Suarez was always involved in these little incidents in a game such as going down to a phantom tackle consistently, cleating the back of Distin’s leg for no reason, and just being a complete itch (maybe missing alphabet in there).
2013-2014 started with a bang as Suarez looked disinterested all pre-season, and dropped the proverbial hammer when he publicly demanded to be allowed to leave Anfield. Liverpool denied his wish strongly and unexpectedly, Luis grew up instead of throwing a tantrum.
Somehow, he has been a model teammate this season.
For starters, he’s only had four yellow cards this season compared to 10 last season. Last year’s Suarez would take every chance to take a dive and this season it looks as if he is trying his best to stay on his feet!
Brendan Rodgers even handed him the captain’s armband at one point. Furthermore, this newfound maturity has also been present in his play.
Last season was deemed a success for Suarez as a player as he notched 23 goals in 33 matches. However, I remember last season as a time where Suarez would score one and miss three every match.
Suarez has already matched the amount of shots he has had this season (72), however, at this point last year he had 10 more misses (62). This clinical finishing is also evident when you consider that his minutes-per-goal has dropped by more than 20 minutes, from 128.5 to 86 minutes.
Scoring 29 goals in 28 matches this season, Suarez has been efficient. Suarez was also woeful at linking up with his teammates as he managed just five assists all of last season. This season he’s already had 11 assists in six less matches played. That is more than double!
Unselfish play has been present as he has displayed a wider array of passing skills instead of taking it alone and running past three defenders. His dedication is also evident as he has matched the number of tackles as he had last season, in six less matches played, with 33 tackles.
“There is no great genius without a mixture of madness,” - Aristotle.
Liverpool will be hoping Suarez has had his last moments of madness, as he is one of the world’s best and is on the road to becoming an unforgettable legend in world football.
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