Kenny Dalglish, one of the greatest players to have pulled on the Number 7 shirt at Liverpool, has done a fantastic job in turning the club’s fortunes around as the Merseyside club look challenge for fifth place in this year’s Premier League. His job has been made easier by the willingness of the club’s new owners to reinvest the money earned from the sale of Fernando Torres in Andy Carroll and, more importantly Luis Suarez.
Handed the Number 7 shirt by Dalglish, the Uruguayan has had a phenomenal opening eleven games to his Liverpool career. His return of four goals doesn’t do justice to the phenomenal work rate and superb vision that has helped create numerous goals for his teammates.
Following the loss of their leading marksman, fans initially looked towards Andy Carroll as the man to lead the line in his absence. But, due to an injury picked up at Newcastle, the England striker did not make his debut until the victory over Manchester United in March. But it has instead been the cheaper acquisition, albeit still at a cost of £23 million, who has stolen the plaudits.
Some felt Suarez might suffer a similar problem to Mateja Kezman at Chelsea. Whilst prolific in Holland, Kezman struggled to make the step up to the Premier League and was shipped out of Chelsea after a single season with only four goals to his name. But, in already passing Kezman’s tally of goals, Suarez has proved himself far better at adapting to the English game.
Comparing Suarez to the likes of Kezman or Torres is a harsh comparisons, however, as he is a completely different type of player. With his pace, creativity, energy and goalscoring ablity he is far more similar to previous wearers of the 7 shirt such as Dalglish and, before him, Kevin Keegan.
A player capable of lifting both fans and teammates alike, Liverpool have mustered 27 goals in the 11 games Suarez has played. Compare this to the 11 games before his arrival, where Liverpool only scored 14 times, and his influence is obvious.
But it is still very early days in his Liverpool career and fans must be careful not to pile on too much pressure before next season. Suarez has joined a transformed Liverpool team with momentum on their side where even the likes of Maxi Rodriguez and Dirk Kuyt have found goals plentiful. Only continued performances next season as Liverpool look to push for the return of Champions League football will confirm whether Suarez will continue to be a class performer for Liverpool for years to come.
In the short term, however, he has proved a great bit of business. Fans have warmed to the ex-Ajax man and, in cashing in on an inconsistent and unhappy striker in Fernando Torres and replacing him with two potential young stars, Suarez and Carroll look like representing great value for money and a bright future at Anfield.
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