As Liverpool do not play this weekend, I wonder how many of you, like me, will succumb to watching highlights of the season to date and allowing yourself to dreamily contemplate what could happen were Luis Suarez and chums to continue their excellent form until the last day of the campaign? It's the kind of indulgence that most of us have been wary of to date, so schooled are we in the inevitability of the heartbreak that has accompanied our devotion over recent seasons.
Increasingly, however, emboldened by the relentless excellence of the attack and the incessant pressing and probing of the midfield, Liverpool fans are begnning to imagine a future in which the parping pomposity of GF Handel/Tony Britten's Champions League theme plays a significant role in the Tuesdays and Wednesdays of the campaign to come. Over the last couple of years that same music has caused your scribbler to wince --I will happily admit to being one of those peevish sorts who cannot abide the success of other teams -- but the thoughts of the Redmen lining up against Europe's finest once more, with that bombastic exultant arrangement blaring, makes me a little giddy.
Few players have embodied the beautiful potential of this season as much as Luis Suarez. Returning from a self-inflicted exile and having seemingly besmirched his reputation irretrievably in the eyes of Liverpool fans, Suarez has had the season of his career. Scoring multiple times in matches in a way that only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi can eclipse, the Uruguayan has gone from grudgingly admired maverick to feted genius in the eyes of the fickle British media. His goals are one thing but the sheer virtuosity of his play, the joyous elan with which he has single-handedly destroyed teams -- making the best defenders look like drunk lower league journeymen -- places Suarez on a level not many have attained in the red shirt.
He may not yet be at the very pinnacle of LFC greatness, alongside Kenny Dalglish, John Barnes and Billy Liddell, but this year Suarez is probably displaying a degree of brilliance to match that of those club legends in their pomp. So much of what the elusive forward does is based on the fact that his reactions are quicker than everyone else's. The opener against Southampton last weekend is a case in point, as the striker adjusted and responded to a breaking ball, setting his body shape and finishing with sublime panache. One simply does not coach that. Such brilliance is innate.
The player himself is aware that he is a wonderful footballer but his self-effacing shy demeanour when interviewed by the press is the polar opposite of the snarling perma-narked on-field dynamo obsessed over by the cameras. It was fascinating to hear him reflect on his goals against Norwich, at Anfield earlier in the season. The first, an absurdly beautiful and intuitive strike, will feature in the top three of most pundits when the awards are handed out. This writer has watched it dozens of times whilst preparing this piece alone and it simply gets more gorgeous to behold. For many, including the player himself, the third goal was even more technically pleasing but that driven dipping volley is the one all of us would dream about scoring.
"My third that day - a flick over a defender and hard shot into the corner - was beautiful, but I can't even explain the first goal," Suarez admits. "The ball was bouncing and I shot, purely for the sake of shooting, and it went in the perfect spot. I didn't look at the 'keeper or the goal once. Sometimes when a striker is in the middle of a run of good luck, you've got to make the most of it - more or less shoot from anywhere and see what happens."
Lucky? You don't fool us, chief. Strap in tightly, folks, because Luis Suarez is in the form of his life and is as potent an attacking threat as the world has to offer right now. If he continues to be ably assisted by the ongoing excellence of his teammates, this could yet be one of the best seasons of your supporting life. Two things are almost inevitable -- red-faced, angst-ridden defenders and goals...lots of goals. In the meantime, watch and enjoy.
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