Luis Suarez, a cut above the rest: From controversy to award-winning genius

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The most lethal of strikers in a deadly Liverpool attack which entertained the masses and sent Liverpool to the cusp of the holy grail.

It was an individual season like no other. From controversy to a highly acclaimed award winner come season’s end, Luis Suarez’s 2013/14 campaign was one of dreams.

The Reds’ campaign may have ended in the cruellest of heartbreaks, but Suarez’s feats were pivotal to the craziest and most unlikely title challenge.

The previous season had ended with Suarez still yet to serve six games of his 10-match ban for biting Chelsea‘s Branislav Ivanovic, where he would later drop hints that his future no longer remained at Anfield.

“I love Liverpool, but I suffered too much as a kid to get where I am to be attacked unfairly by the English press. They haven’t appreciated me as a player, they’ve just judged my attitude.”

Real Madrid were interested suitors and the lure of Champions League football came with it, only for Arsenal to enter the race and infamously table a bid of £40,000,001 – leaving John W Henry to question “What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 2, 2013: Liverpool's Luis Suarez looks dejected as he shakes hands with Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny following his side's 2-0 defeat during the Premiership match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The bid £1 over Suarez’s release clause was rightly denied and the No. 7 was forced to train alone at Melwood as Brendan Rodgers deemed him to have shown a “total disrespect” to the club.

Liverpool continued to hold firm and retain their key man and while he missed the opening five league games, the Reds picked up 10 from a possible 15 – with Daniel Sturridge assuming the key role.

But after being cleared to return at the first opportune moment for the trip to Sunderland on September 29, 2013, Suarez played 90 minutes of every remaining Premier League fixture.

It was a dazzling and mesmeric display from the Uruguayan, failing to score in just three of his 12 league games before Christmas, a day Liverpool sat at the top of the table.

His torment of Norwich continued with a sumptuous and simply outrageous four goals at Anfield, leaving Liverpool fans in a state of utter euphoria and Norwich in a daze as the creative tap was on overdrive.

After the game, Steven Gerrard, who helped convince Suarez to back down from the move to Arsenal, said of his performance: “You have seen a world-class performance, probably one of the best individual performances I’ve seen at Anfield – and I’ve been playing here a long time.”

Suarez’s supreme ability to find the net was second to none, and his partnership with Sturridge, ‘The SAS’, while extremely competitive, was the cornerstone of Liverpool’s scintillating attack at the time.

Before the turn of 2014, Suarez had 19 goals to his name in just 14 appearances and had even looked to his teammates throughout having notched seven assists during the same period.

A barren run, by his standards, would follow, season-defining back to back defeats to Chelsea and Man City failed to see him on the scoresheet, where he would etch his name just four times in a 10 game run.

The assists were still racking up throughout, however, notching five in a run which saw the Reds drop points only once, a draw against Aston Villa, before he got back to doing what he does best.

CARDIFF, WALES - Saturday, March 22, 2014: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the fith goal against Cardiff City with team-mate Luis Suarez during the Premiership match at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On March 1, 2014, Suarez opened the scoring in a 3-0 and provided two assists in the win against Southampton to see him burst into life once more.

He finished Man United off in style at Old Trafford in the famous 3-0 win before dispatching a hat-trick in the 6-3 win over Cardiff as Liverpool continued their reckless abandon in both attack and defence.

Three more would follow before the season was out, one which ended with 31 goals in 33 games, ensuring he became the most prolific scorer in the top-flight season since Chelsea’s Jimmy Greaves’ 41 in 40 matches in 1960/61.

We all know how the season would end up for Liverpool and while the Premier League title would remain out of reach, Suarez would end the campaign as the PFA Player of the Year, Football Writers’ Player of the Year and Barclays Fans’ Player of the Year.

It would be his last in English football as Barcelona beckoned in a £75 million move that summer.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 4, 2013: Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring the first goal against Norwich City during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Suarez consistently had everyone on the edge of their seats, both in and out of the stadium, with his out of the world imagination which was matched by his ability to pull off the impossible.

While full of incredible moments in what was a record-breaking season, Suarez’s entire 2013/14 campaign is one which will forever be remembered and enshrined into Liverpool’s history.

A fierce competitor and a genius in his own right, one you love having on your side but loathe as a member of the opposition.

 

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