As Luis Suarez’s Liverpool career draws to a close, Ben Twelves takes a look back at the games that defined EL Pistolero’s three-and- a-half-year Anfield tenure.
Liverpool 2-0 Stoke 2010/11
The hurt of Fernando Torres jumping ship was still raw as Luis Suarez arrived at Anfield. The club was in desperate need of a boost and the Uruguayan replacement made an instant impact as he slotted home into the Kop net with the aid of a deflection just minutes into his Liverpool debut. Suarez hadn’t even trained with his new team-mates but he rejuvenated the fan base and was immediately worshipped as his predecessor became little more than a distant memory. Little did we know that it was to be the start of something truly special.
With just over a month of Premier League football under his belt, Suarez produced a master-class performance helping blow away arch rivals United at Anfield in a 3-1 win. Dirk Kuyt will always be the man remembered for his match-winning hat-trick but Suarez showed throughout with a magnificent performance that he had the ability to turn games on his own and out play what was the best in the league at the time. It was an electrifying display which received a hair-raising reception from the Kop when the magician was substituted late on.
A heated battle at Anfield that ended all square will always be remembered for all the wrong reasons as Suarez was found guilty in the aftermath of the match of racially abusing Patrice Evra during the game. He was handed an eight game ban and suffered a brutal public humiliation in which he became public enemy number one, but the club stood alongside and backed their main man to the hilt, something they would also receive mass criticism for.
18 months after the infamous Evra incident, Suarez once again positioned himself firmly at the mercy of the powers that be, as he this time bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic on the arm in front of the Kop. He escaped a red card and went onto score a 90th minute goal to level the game sparking mass controversy once again for two reasons on this occasion. The bite proved to be the second time in the Uruguayans’ career that he had bitten an opponent which saw some question whether he’d done it to force a transfer away from Anfield, a move which didn’t come to fruition as the club stood firm.
The bad and the ugly of Suarez was seemingly a thing of the past as he produced the beginning of some outstanding form on immediate arrival back into the team. The good of Luis just kept on giving, with the pinnacle coming on the 4th December on a cold Wednesday night at Anfield. Luis produced a complete master class of a performance that almost defied logic, making the Kop go wild on a number of occasions, as he crashed in a sensational four goals against Norwich.
So incredible was Suarez’s performance that when he scored his hat-trick goal his celebration suggested that even he seemed shocked that he’d pulled it off and continued his devastating form. It had the world talking about our flawed genius for his unbelievable ability and football fans everywhere were finally sat up and began to take notice that there was a genuine contender to rival Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the best player in the world honour.
What’s your favourite Luis Suarez moment? Let us know in the comments below.