Luis Suarez’s numbers in the Premier League alone were nothing remotely in-keeping with his talent and natural ability. But despite the problems the Uruguay international had last season, Liverpool have continued to back their striker and Suarez owes the club a big year.
The player is comfortably one of Liverpool’s most gifted players—perhaps their best alongside Steven Gerrard—but we’re yet to see the consistency of a £24 million player, and one who acts like a model professional. Lets not forget the problems he had in the Dutch league, as well.
What happened last season was ugly, both the player and club were in the wrong to varying degrees, but Liverpool have continued to show faith and confidence in their striker by rewarding him with new contract.
From here on, the only person that can continue to make himself look foolish is Suarez. He’d do well to move on from the troubles of the past and ignore the taunts from the crowd. By creating further distractions away from the positive work on the pitch, Suarez would essentially send the club a clear signal of his attitude towards them and the game.
What Liverpool need from him is the sort of performances and numbers that are indicative of a player of his quality. He’s certainly able to outdo the number of goals he posted last year, and Brendan Rodgers appears to be an excellent manager to get the best out of the striker.
Suarez is a hero back in Uruguay, and his performances for the national team at the Olympics were inspirational at times; it’s a shame none of his team-mates were able to match his desire. However, the Premier League will not be so welcoming to the Liverpool striker. We’ll continue to hear the aggressive rumble of boos that have greeted him and many others in the past, but he needs to show his character in a clearly difficult environment.
It remains to be seen how Brendan Rodgers will send his team out, but Suarez is comfortable with a strike partner or as the lone front man. He has a spark and unpredictability about his game that no one in the Liverpool squad has, and it is certainly a plus to have a player of that nature in any team.
In hindsight, the fee Liverpool paid for Suarez is not a waste and should not be placed alongside the disappointments of their other recent acquisitions. Suarez is still of an age where his best years could be ahead of him, and with the right attitude, the player could still become a hero at Anfield, as he has done in other parts of the world.
But praise of the player’s talent and outstanding ability to drive his team forward will count for little if he is not committed. The worst that could happen is that we see a petulant player who is drawn into controversy while his team are battling for any form of success. At this stage, I doubt that’s what we’ll see. The player seemed to brush off the boos at the Olympics and managed to remain focused, despite the consistently poor performances of those around him.
The reported wages Suarez is on now is a better reflection of his talent and importance to the club. Liverpool would no doubt have been delighted with his enthusiasm to commit. From here on, however, we’d like to see a continued flurry of outstanding performances that firmly locks away the troubles of his past.