In any given campaign there'll be a handful of thirty-yard screamers, intricate team-goals, thumping volleys and delicate finishes vying for top-spot in the myriad end-of-season polls. They'll all have merit and plenty to recommend them but sometimes there's a strike that has something extra-special about it, a touch of flair or outrageous ability that marks it out as unique. To my mind the stunning goal scored by Luis Suarez against Newcastle this season, is one of these.
In a stark departure from the death by football philosophy espoused by Brendan Rodgers as the season began, this was the most beautifully direct of goals. Jose Enrique has spoken about how, when he gets on the ball, he immediately, instinctively looks for Luis Suarez. So, after taking the ball on his chest he glanced up and saw Suarez trying to get beyond Argentinian international and bouffant enthusiast, Fabricio Coloccini. A quick touch to set himself on his left foot and he hit a bobbling ball on the half-volley, with admirable precision, straight into the Uruguayan's path. What followed was magical.
At full pace and with the hirsute Argentinian doing all within his power to ease Suarez away from the goal area, the striker produced a piece of bravura control with his left shoulder. The co-ordination required to watch the flight of the ball and kill it in the fashion he did is probably the single most incredible aspect of an utterly beguiling goal. In a stunningly fluid movement, Suarez allowed the ball to drop, rolled it to the right, thereby completely evading the onrushing Tim Krul, and then dinked it back in the opposite direction with the outside of his dexterous right boot.
The virtuoso number seven, pleasingly, did not break his stride as he followed into the net whilst setting about his complicated hand-kissing ritual, picked up the ball as it bounced into his arms and continued back out of the goal to celebrate. It was all seamlessly elegant. A visual delight. A thing so beautiful that one never tires of viewing it.
John Barnes, a man who scored some of the most incredible goals I've ever seen, was effusive in his praise of the strike. The Anfield legend spoke of the unique skills possessed by our Uruguayan goal-poacher.
"I don't think there's another player in the world who could have scored that goal," Barnes opined. "I don't think [Lionel] Messi, [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Robin] van Persie or anyone could have scored it. The pace he was running at, to control the ball and then to change pace, to relax, to calm down and slow down, to not run out or kick the ball out of play on his second touch and put it in was just incredible."
Feel free, on the thread below, to offer alternatives to my choice but I'll be sticking with Suarez. If it's good enough for Digger, it's good enough for me. Those meanies in the Premier League seem to have divested the interweb of the official footage but you can enjoy a mercifully silent, bleached-out version below.