Showing his class

Liverpool’s Luis Suarez (right) has always been a headache for defenders.-AP Liverpool’s Luis Suarez (right) has always been a headache for defenders.

Love him or hate him, Luis Suarez’s match-winning ability is plain to see. If he hangs around he could go down as one of Liverpool’s greatest strikers.

Luis Suarez has come in for a lot of criticism since he arrived in England but the Liverpool striker has let his football do the talking in recent weeks.

The Uruguay international hit the headlines for the wrong reasons when he was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra last season. Suarez was banned for eight matches and hit with a hefty fine by the Football Association after clashing with France left back Evra at Anfield.

He then caused another storm by refusing to shake Evra’s hand when the two sides met at Old Trafford in February.

The 25-year-old has also attracted negative publicity before and after that incident since joining the Reds, mainly for having a tendency to go to ground far too easily.

But despite his histrionics, Suarez is quite rightly regarded as one of the best players in the English Premier League and he has showed precisely why with his recent form.

Liverpool have struggled for goals this season due to a lack of attacking options and if it were not for the form of the ex-Ajax striker they could find themselves in the relegation zone. The tricky frontman has scored seven of the Reds’ 13 EPL goals, and 10 in all competitions, and his value to the team is not lost on manager Brendan Rodgers.

“We play him in that false nine role. He’s not a traditional number nine who’s up there, stood, static.” said Rodgers. “That’s why when we get a number of players in who can work off his qualities, that’s going to make us a real threat. I ask him to get on the move and get defenders out of their positions. His cleverness and movement at the moment is world class.”

With Liverpool down in 12th position in the EPL it appears they will be hard pressed to secure a place in the UEFA Champions League next season and the Reds will have to show their ambition in order to keep Suarez at the club.

Suarez is the only recognised striker available to Rodgers at the moment, so it is imperative the former Swansea boss signs at least one striker in January.

Liverpool left back Jose Enrique heaped praise on Suarez following his superbly taken equaliser against Newcastle, but the Spaniard knows other players have to chip in with more goals.

Enrique said: “It’s a dream to play with someone like him but we can’t depend on one player. We need more players to score as we can’t always look to Luis.”

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard revealed recently that he rates Suarez as the best striker he’s ever played with and there is no doubt he is worthy of wearing the famous number seven shirt donned by the legendary Kenny Dalglish — the man who signed him from Ajax.

Suarez will always have his detractors not only following his ban for racial abuse, but also incidents such as when he bit PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal during his time at Ajax.

Suarez was outstanding during the recent Merseyside derby at Everton but rather than marvel over his display at Goodison Park, much of the talk after the game was that he should have been sent off for a nasty late challenge on Sylvain Distin.

But love him or hate him, Suarez’s match-winning ability is plain to see. If he hangs around at Anfield he could go down as one of Liverpool’s greatest strikers.

Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has been linked with a January move to Anfield and if Rodgers can persuade the Holland international to join the Reds then he will reunite a formidable pairing that worked so well together at Ajax. And Liverpool will be hoping Suarez is on the back pages for the right reasons as they look to turn their season around.

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