With Andy Carroll departed and no deal struck for Daniel Sturridge, it certainly seemed at the start of the season that Liverpool were without a prototypical striker--neither of Carroll nor Sturridge had overwhelmed in the past few seasons but were at least identifiable number nines, and while Fabio Borini's arrival gave the squad some depth, there looked to be a gap between creating the goals and actually finishing them.
Much of that concern was born out of the fact that Luis Suarez had one of the more wasteful seasons in front of goal during the 2011-2012 campaign, seemingly intent to create as much magic as possible right up until the point that a finish needed to be applied. Profligacy haunted the entire squad last season, so it wasn't just a problem with the Uruguayan, but as the summer transfer window closed it was clear that he was the only forward in the senior squad with any ounce of Premier League experience, and Liverpool's goalscoring fortunes would begin and end with him.
And for the most part, he's delivered an astounding return--still prone to moments of wastefulness, but he's left many of last season's struggles behind in climbing to the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts, two ahead of the man many consider to be one of Europe's most clinical finishers. It all comes as a bit of a surprise considering the narrative that had developed over the player's previous season and a half in a Liverpool shirt, a sentiment captured nicely by Ian Rush yesterday:
"At the beginning of the season, I would not have said Suarez was an out-and-out scorer. Not in the same way say Robin van Persie is or Michael Owen was when he was at Liverpool. I would have considered him as much a maker of goals as a goalscorer. But the number of goals he has scored this season has amazed me."
Aside from the most ardent Suarez backers, I think we're all a bit surprised at the frequency with which Suarez has been finding the net, as well as the manner in which he's finished off the chances he's either earned himself or been provided. He's scored in bunches and single-handedly kept Liverpool in matches, and with the arrivals of Philippe Coutinho, he's looked even more dangerous, finally having been provided the type of support that was expected when he initially joined the club in January of 2011.
There's nothing to suggest that he'll do any backing off, either--to expect him to continue at this rate would seem unfair, but as Rush underlined, Luis Suarez has already blown expectations away to this point, so there's no reason to think he can't continue to do so.