For much of last season, we lamented the lack of finishing by Luis Suarez, often hypothesizing as to how many points Liverpool would have earned had he finished only a handful of the nearly misses that plagued seemingly every appearance. He wasn't alone in his profligacy, as plenty of others conspired with him to help Liverpool top the woodwork table and plumb the depths when it came to conversion. The magic was there, but the end product was all too often lacking.
And while it hasn't been a complete reversal of fortune this season, there's been far more end product, to the point that his hat-trick today assured him a spot at the top of the Premier League scoring charts. He's scored in nearly every manner possible, poking and lashing and heading and volleying and scuffing past opposition goalkeepers domestically and on the continent, proving along the way that there is just truly no way to stop the man when he's on.
Maybe the difference this season is that he's been on more often, or he's more comfortable during a season that doesn't include one of the footballing world's biggest off-pitch storylines. Maybe it's practice, maybe it's support, maybe it's just stars aligning differently due to global warming or global not-warming. Whatever the reason, Luis Suarez is an absolute terror this season, and he's shown little sign of taking his foot off the pedal.
Saturday night in Wigan was as good an example as any. He first latched onto a sublime through ball from Philippe Coutinho, who lingered just long enough for Suarez to find a crease between defenders, and the placement was just so that Suarez could take a touch, deke Ali Al-Habsi to the deck, and finish at the near post. The second was more direct but just as fun, with his fifth goal from a direct free-kick this season coming after he slipped, it deflected off a man, spun towards the far post, hit it, and somehow squirmed between said post and Al-Habsi. He finished off the scoring as the beneficiary of a lovely, loping run from Glen Johnson, who finally knocked into space for the barely onside Uruguayan, who nutmegged Al-Habsi to finish off his hat-trick and the scoring for the day.
What's nice is that the goals don't tell the entirety of the story--his workrate and commitment were just as impressive before the goals as they were after, and for nearly all of the ninety minutes he was working hard as ever. For a player who's logged so many minutes it's astounding, especially in a match that was all but settled for the entirety of the second half.
It all serves to underline just how important Luis Suarez is to Liverpool, and regardless of whether or not anyone else thinks he's better than or worse than or just about as good as anybody else, we know better. He's tremendous, and he's Liverpool's, and right now, there's nobody else we'd rather have.
Video by MrBoywunder