Had Liverpool's match yesterday at Carrow Road followed the season's narrative, it's likely Luis Suarez would still be in for a shout as the man of the match even though he'd have come off without scoring. His first effort would have been tipped wide by John Ruddy, his second would have clanked off the post, and his third would have sailed into the home supporters that had already jeered his every misstep. As has happened so often this year, nearly everything about the performance was brilliant, and all it required was a final product.
Thankfully for Liverpool, Suarez made few mistakes on the day and managed to put two past Ruddy on his first two shots, and scored what should be the goal of the season to round off his hat-trick and a day that, on the whole, was among the Uruguayan's better performances with the club.
Obviously the goals are the main talking points, and with the quality of the finishes they should be. He was a clear benefactor of a midfield that gradually pushed higher up the pitch and provided him with more direct support---the derby win over Everton aside, few and far between have been the times that Liverpool had active support from the midfield for Suarez. With Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey operating deeper in the middle, Gerrard was free further forward, and his role in the opener, in which he dispossessed David Fox and flicked into space, was exactly the type of work that the club's missed so often this season.
The midfield was certainly important, Norwich did little pressing of their own to stretch Liverpool, and Elliott Ward gifted Suarez with possession on his last two goals. So it was a team effort with a little bit of good fortunate sprinkled in, and while Kenny Dalglish was more than happy to play down the role of any one individual, it'd be hard to ignore the influence of Suarez yet again. He danced and nutmegged his way through the Norwich defense on numerous occasions, with Ryan Bennett's elbow to the face was about as close as Norwich got to keeping him under wraps.
With the club seemingly content to muddle their way through the league season and flip the switch in cup competition, there's not necessarily a mandate that Liverpool pick up a head of steam prior to their Wembley date with Chelsea next Saturday. But it wouldn't hurt to have some positive sentiment and a bit of momentum, and performances like yesterday's, both from the squad and from Suarez, certainly provide something to feel good about.
Video by Mostar via Daily Motion.