A year ago, if Liverpool fans had been told Luis Suarez would knock out an opponent as he did Fulham's Maarten Stekelenburg and it wouldn't result in the press chasing after him with torches and pitchforks, none would have believed it. If you'd told them last summer Suarez would still be at the club come February of 2014, few would have been any more credulous.
Suarez may always be a player surrounded by certain doubts and question marks, but even acknowledging that, the past year has seen a rather shocking transformation from Premier League pariah into something at least less than wholly, purely evil. In conversation with Uruguay's Sport890, Suarez reflected on his personal growth while at Liverpool.
"I've made two big mistakes in my career," he admitted. "When I was playing for Ajax and I bit [PSV's Otman] Bakkal and then when I did the same to Ivanovic. Those were my mistakes and I've asked for forgiveness. The other things were like a movie that people in England believed. Evra? It wasn't true. There was no real evidence but it's something I had to move on from."
His efforts to do just that have made for something of a stumbling, stuttering affair. The Ivanovic incident of course followed well after, and it in turn was followed by a summer that saw an understandable push for a Real Madrid transfer turn into an unsavoury attempt to engineer an Arsenal move. But Suarez insists he's growing and learning, however slowly.
"As time goes on I'm getting more mature and, I think, becoming better at dealing with things," added the striker. "If I don't feed the journalists, then the journalists can't speak about me, so now I'm more focused on football. The club, fans, and teammates were great because it's hard to protect someone who was behaving the way I was, but they all supported me, especially my teammates.
"Gerrard is the man at Liverpool—he's always backed me up. He always talked well to the press about me and that's something that will stay with me forever. It's the same with the manager, and I have a great relationship with him."
Certainly his behaviour on the pitch this season has shown a more mature player, one who may even have learned from past mistakes and found real value in the loyalty Liverpool have shown towards him. Most fans, though, may still want to wait a bit before declaring there aren't a few more stumbles waiting in store.