Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, perhaps the man who divides opinion more than any other in football, has started the season in blistering form, producing moments of magic that make you take a step back and question quite where the ingenuity of his skill could possibly have come from.
Hated as he may well be by opposition fans, there is not a team in world football, Man Utd aside perhaps, that would not want Luis Suarez in their side, but even then that has nothing to do with Suarez’s undoubted ability.
His name is now etched in world football alongside Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Andres Iniesta and the like.
It is only to be admired that Suarez’s unpredictability has not become predictably unpredictable.
His ability to turn his opponents with ease, the speed with which he changes direction, and his unrivalled ability to nutmeg defenders have meant that creating chances for himself and others is little more than second nature to him.
In fact, so impressive has Suarez been this season, it would not be an injustice to perhaps the greatest player ever, Lionel Messi, to compare Suarez to him, if only in the way they both have an innate ability to create something out of nothing. Suarez is also probably the closest player to Messi in terms of playing style, although he does it with far less elegance than the Argentinian genius.
It takes a special player to play the ‘false 9′ role and although Suarez is not, and never will be, on a par with Messi, the similarities are certainly there.
For all his ability and his impressive hunger to win, one footballing criticism which Suarez has been accused of is his seeming inability to consistently finish chances, leading for some to claim that Suarez is a scorer of great goals rather than a great goal-scorer. It is easy to argue that if Suarez could finish his chances as well as the world’s leading goalscorers, his goal scoring record would rival Ronaldo’s and Messi’s.
Whilst it is clear finishing is not one of Suarez’s best traits, it would do him an injustice to suggest he isn’t a natural goal scorer and certainly this season Suarez has made a mockery of such claims. With 8 goals in 11 Premier League games, Suarez this season has been prolific (and that doesn’t include his wrongly-adjudged offside goal in the final minute vs Everton).
8 goals in 11 Premier League games is simply irrepressible.
But how many goals can the man, whom Jamie Carragher has justifiably claimed as the Premier League’s best, score this season?
Taking a look at his Premier League statistics compared to last season makes for encouraging reading for Liverpool fans:
|Luis Suarez 11/12 (31 apps)||Luis Suarez 12/13 (11 apps so far)|
|Mins per goal||232||124|
|Mins per shot||24||19|
|Clear cut chance conversion||25.00%||44.00%|
In front of goal Luis Suarez has improved drastically in all areas apart from his shooting accuracy. Most importantly, his chance conversion has improved by 5% and his clear chance conversion, something that was incredibly frustrating last season, has improved by an impressive 19%.
Compared to Robin van Persie’s fantastic 25% chance conversion though, Suarez clearly has some catching up to do if he wants to be renowned as a brilliant finisher.
Whilst 11 goals in 29 starts is not a bad return, it was something that needed to be improved upon if Liverpool were going to climb the table this season. So far Luis Suarez has done more than his fair share, and it is time for the other Liverpool players to give him a helping hand until Liverpool can (hopefully) reinforce in January.
If Luis Suarez continues his red hot form, with these stats it is projected that he will score 27 goals this season, in the Premier League alone, withstanding any serious injury, loss of form, or more awful officiating.
27 goals for a player who ‘can’t finish’ is a ridiculously impressive return and if he could improve his finishing throughout the season with the help of confidence, practice and more chances being created for him, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that he could potentially average a goal a game – if not more. This may sound inconceivable but not a game goes by in which Suarez should not score, especially given the amount of chances he creates by himself.
Previously, a lot of these chances would end up in the stands and Suarez and fans alike would air their frustration, but this season, although he still has missed a fair few, more often than not the ball has hit the back of the net.
He has previously already achieved this, scoring 49 goals in 48 appearances for Ajax in 2009-10, and whilst the Premier League is a different level of competition altogether, Suarez has shown the ability to replicate it and there are signs this season that had has it in him. He has already scored 11 goals this season in all competitions and given that he is still to play Norwich again, you can almost guarantee another hat-trick to add to his collection!
What makes Suarez so special is his ability to score so many different types of goals. so far this season he has scored two fantastic free kicks for Liverpool, a few tap ins (one after the most sublime piece of control I’ve ever seen), a curler from the edge of the area with the outside of his right foot, some clinical strikes into the corner and a few headers.
It is not a surprise that Manchester City have been linked with a £40m move for Suarez, although it is unlikely that that amount would tempt Liverpool, given Suarez’s contract situation and his ability.
From a footballing fans perspective, the thought of a fearsome threesome made up of Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez is enough to make the mouth water—but it is imperative that Liverpool keep hold of their precocious asset.
Comparing the forwards with which he could play alongside and the forwards who he has mainly played alongside for Liverpool—Fabio Borini (21 years old), Raheem Sterling (17), and Suso (18)—makes his goal-scoring record all the more impressive though, as it must be noted that he has done it along side relative novices of the game.
Hypothetically, were Suarez to play alongside more experienced forwards after January, say for example, Theo Walcott, then his goal scoring record would surely only improve, given the hopefully decreased pressure he would be under to score and the creation of more clear cut chances for him.
Let’s hope for more of the same from El Pistolero.
stats courtesy of www.eplindex.com