"He looks like he can score a hat-trick in every game, doesn't he?" was Brendan Rodgers' take on the latest superlative effort by Luis Suarez and the striker's chances of breaking the record of 31 goals in a 38-game season, and though Suarez may have only scored two goals this time out, it's certainly beginning to look as though a hat-trick a week isn't out of the question. "He can break it because he has got that quality. He will certainly push it close."
Having scored 19 goals in 12 matches, he's now only a dozen away from matching Christiano Ronaldo and Alan Shearer—and with 21 games left in the season, it's hard to imagine Suarez won't set the new standard. He's also likely to beat the 34 goals scored by Shearer and Andrew Cole when there were 42 games in a Premier League season. Dean Dixie's 60 goal 1927-28 campaign, though, is probably safe as the all-time record in the English top flight.
It isn't just Suarez' goals that have been drawing plaudits, either, as Suarez is being increasingly recognised for his team play. After setting up Raheem Sterling's third goal of the season from a position most strikers would have chosen to shoot from, Suarez now has five assists to go with his 19 goals—good enough for fifth in the Premier League's assist table—and it was that team play Rodgers was more interested in highlighting following Saturday's match.
"The one for today is unselfish," said the manager when asked to think of one word to describe the Uruguayan before highlighting the assist that likely deprived Suarez of registering a hat-trick against Cardiff City. "First of all, it is for the second goal, he's through and you don't see too many strikers do that. It shows you the team player that he is.
"I thought he showed great humility as well, when Daniel Agger came on the field, he brought the armband straight to him because he's the vice-captain. It shows you the humility of the man. Two brilliant goals, a genuine world-class player. The pivotal point of the team is really exciting and dynamic at the moment."
Suarez did all he could have to justify the lucrative new contract signed the day before the match, but he wasn't alone. Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, and Raheem Sterling all impressing in the final third along with Suarez, and the striker at least had some help when it came to putting on another impressive attacking show in the first half before Liverpool eased up in the second with an eye to matches against Manchester City and Chelsea.
"It was an outstanding team performance," added Rodgers. "In the first half, we were exceptional—some of our movement and fluidity in our game was excellent. We controlled the game, scored three, and maybe could have had one or two more. In the second half, we started brightly and looked like we were going to continue that momentum [but] we gave away a slack goal.
"It was a poor goal, and it gave Cardiff a bit of momentum. We have to defend with a bit more aggression and more regularity. But overall, we scored three and could have had one or two more. A great win for us and outstanding goals. Last year, it took us a while to even get into the top 10. Now people are talking about a good start, and you can trace it back—you see from January this has been a team on the up."
With tough matches on Thursday at City and then Sunday at Chelsea, it may be hard for Liverpool to continue their form of the last four games—and for Suarez to continue his scoring form. A pair of points, though, would likely be enough to keep them right in the mix at the top, and as tough as City and Chelsea on the road look, on that current form it would be foolish to count Liverpool and Suarez out.
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