A short while ago, it was generally accepted amongst the chattering classes of football that Luis Suarez was so good his ability placed him squarely in that bracket of elite players just behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. That seemed fair, and was based on the thrilling explosiveness which the Uruguayan seems to be perpetually on the brink of displaying. Some of us wondered if the celebrated limb-gnawer wasn't a little better than that, however; if he wasn't, perhaps, even capable of rivalling the apparently peerless pair for the glittering baubles that are presented the the world's finest at those gloriously self-congratulatory, tuxedo-ridden awards nights.
The kinetic forward's recent form, however, would suggest that he has indeed accelerated past the likes of Xavi Hernandez, Neymar and Andrés Iniesta to be the very best of that world-class bunch. Luis Suarez, lest we forget, plays for Liverpool. For all the heartache he has visited upon us as a body of fans, none of us are blind to his magnificence as a footballer. It does not take flawless Vulcan logic to deduce that any hopes Liverpool have of a high league placement are inextricably bound-up with the potential impact wrought by our ever-motile striker.
Those with short memories will buy into the lazy punditry peddled by the likes of Sky and believe that Brendan Rodgers' side is an utterly toothless entity without their totemic Uruguayan. This is patently false, as the evidence of results and form during his ban bears out. Indeed, such is the comparative depth of the squad, it is tempting to believe that an on-form Philippe Coutinho would be a seamless replacement.
Champions League football, however, is not attained by simply being good enough or plugging gaps. There must be options from the bench that can genuinely effect the outcome of a game. On Saturday, at the Emirates, we shall see what that looks like, as a fit again Coutinho will lurk threateningly on the sidelines, should Arsenal find a way to nullify the ample offensive threats of Daniel Sturridge, Suarez, Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard.
With Gareth Bale's move to Real Madrid hardly the tasty dish of paella he'd have hoped for, it is being strongly suggested that both he and Florentino Perez may be thinking of cutting their losses and rumours abound about a possible swift Premier League return for the simian-featured Welshman. Perez must have seen the video of Suarez destroying West Brom in the wake of his own side's loss to Barcelona and choked a little on his Cristal champagne. It stands to reason that Real would covet the Uruguayan forward but the stories of an exchange for Karim Benzema plus twenty million pounds are fanciful tabloid nonsense. At least, this frazzled scribbler hopes they are.
There will be no chance of anyone convincing me that Liverpool will be better without Suarez. I've already tried that on myself. It was a good chat, and not in the least odd or indicative of any mental health issues. In the end, I convinced me that no matter how much I wanted to press the eject button after the Summer farrago, I couldn't do it. You see my love is for Liverpool Football Club, not Luis Suarez, and every game he plays in our colours is an advantage to us. It's a cynical world and I can be as calculating as the next misanthrope. Suarez is an awesome talent. We need to cling to that asset for as long as possible. It's simply common sense.
Jordan Henderson, who has been fantastic consistently thus far, is unequivocal in his admiration for Liverpool's number seven. The Sunderland native, renowned for his imitation of a perpetual motion machine has lauded the effort put in by Suarez, which is praise indeed, but he has also been quick to highlight the importance of his partner and the possibilities alluded to earlier in this piece. He's a canny young man, is Jordan.
"Luis is a top player but his work rate is phenomenal as well, which makes things a lot easier for us," he averred to the official website. "He was outstanding and with him and Dan up front, we have so much quality, but they do a job for the team as well. Philippe Coutinho has started training so I'm sure he will be fit quite soon. That's a great boost for us and we're looking strong at the minute."
Another man who's been having his say on Suarez is former Liverpool forward, John Aldridge. Then Irish international was such a wonderful goalscorer for the Anfield giants in the late Eighties, that he made this young fan almost forget about Ian Rush. His record of sixty three goals in one hundred and four games is testament to the fact that Aldridge knows a little something about the art of striking. He was effusive in his praise for the Uruguayan's masterful display against West Brom, singling out in particular the magnificent headed goal.
"It was one of the best goals I've ever seen and no goalkeeper in the world would have saved it," insisted Aldridge to the same source. "This fella is the business and has a hunger and desire which is different to other players. Aside from his three goals on Saturday, he never stopped running."
Aldridge and Henderson are merely echoing the thoughts of most Reds. Luis Suarez is a one-off and currently, at least, he is our one-off. The club, when not expending needless energy on patching up botched PR exercises, must seek to maintain the admirably firm line they have to date. Champions League football is the goal and Liverpool fans want to believe it can happen sooner rather than later. Luis Suarez, for all his foibles, makes us dream.