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Gerrard Sees Suarez as Player of the Year

Steven Gerrard spoke ahead of Thursday night's game against Zenit about how highly he rates Luis Suarez and the "fantastic football" Liverpool have been playing this season.

Laurence Griffiths

Before the teams took to the field at Anfield on Thursday night, there was an old feeling returning to some hearts. It was hope and it was glorious. However, the narrative of the season, thus far, has seen our beloved team take that hope and crush it like a beer can on a frat-boy's forehead. The wildly inconsistent form of Liverpool Football Club in their so-called Year Zero, has been enough to leave many of us courting a coronary episode.

If there has been one constant and gleaming beacon of consistency amidst the fog of uncertainty and underachievement, it has been the ludicrously magnificent form of Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan has turned centre-halves inside-out, worried goalkeepers from all angles and carried the hopes of the club on his constantly motile shoulders. He is energy incarnate and he has a hunger to simply play football that is virtually unrivalled.

Little wonder then, that Steven Gerrard should laud his team-mate's efforts when speaking to the BBC before the Europa League game. The captain insisted that the 25-goal striker is "player of the year, across this league and a lot more leagues." Suarez, who was short-listed for the FIFA FIFPro World XI last year, has dazzled in the Premiership and Gerrard suggested that it was a "scary thought" that our number 7 will only get better.

Ironically and prophetically, Gerrard predicted that big European games were often decided when a truly inspirational player produces "a bit of magic." With his jaw-dropping brace of free-kicks against Zenit, Suarez did not let his captain down. That his heroics were in vain, is the type of bitter pill we've become used to ingesting in recent seasons. Until Liverpool can force home their superiority and dominance and claim results as well as admiration, Suarez will not have a team that justifies his wonderful talent.

In a further display of disturbing augury, Liverpool's captain spoke of the proliferation of "stupid schoolboy errors" that have undermined much of the progress under Rodgers. How genuinely distressing for most of us that it should have been the legend that is Jamie Carragher that fulfilled the prophecy, in an otherwise faultless display on his one hundred and fiftieth European tie for LFC.

Gerrard has, however, been effusive in his positivity about the overall direction in which Liverpool are headed. This season, he insisted, has seen him be part of "performances that have been up there with the best [he's] experienced as a Liverpool player." He spoke of how Rodgers' men have "murdered teams in possession" this season and likened some games to boxing matches in which the opponent has thrown in the towel.

It's hard to argue with our captain's assessment of how the season has gone and why. He, like all of us, is aware that there is something that is tangibly exciting about this emergent team but as the years draw to an end for Steven Gerrard in Liverpool red, there is also an anxiety that the progress is being sabotaged by elementary mistakes on the pitch and perhaps even on the sideline. All of which brings us back to everyone's favourite word - patience. If ours is wearing thin, let us hope that Luis Suarez has more forbearance.

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