Liverpool vs. Tottenham: Why Luis Suarez's Return Will Spark Reds' Top-4 Hopes
Luis Suarez will available for Liverpool FC, when they play Tottenham on Monday night, having completed his eight game ban. The Uruguayan international will be a welcome addition to a Liverpool squad that has recently started to play convincingly and has been winning important matches.
The recent upturn in Liverpool's results and the performances of the three strikers who have been available during Suarez's enforced ban, will give Kenny Dalglish the kind of headache managers always claim to like.
In Liverpool's last game against Wolves, Craig Bellamy, Andy Carroll and Dirk Kuyt all scored as the Reds ran out easy winners. Suarez, however, will probably start in attack with Carroll alongside him. Bellamy and Kuyt will most likely start the game on the bench.
Suarez's return could not come at a better time for Liverpool as they face two important cup matches; Brighton at home in the FA Cup and then Cardiff in the final of the League Cup. Liverpool also faces a difficult run of Premiership fixtures, as they enter their most challenging part of their season.
The next four Premiership games for the Reds see them face Tottenham at Anfield, then away to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, where Suarez will be sure to get quite the welcome. A home game against Arsenal follows, and then a challenging away fixture at Martin O'Neil's improving Sunderland could make or break Liverpool's season.
Liverpool believes that with Suarez back, they can climb up the league table and claim that all important fourth Champions League spot.
Time to Concentrate on Soccer
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Luis Suarez is no stranger when it comes to controversy. The 25-year-old has been banned previously with Ajax and the Uruguayan national side.
While at Ajax, Suarez received a seven match ban for biting an opponent. During the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals, Suarez was famously sent off for a deliberate handball that denied Ghana a last minute extra time winning goal. Gyan, the Ghanaian striker missed the ensuing penalty-kick and Uruguay wound up winning and advancing to the semifinals—ironically enough on penalty kicks.
After completing his eight match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra of Manchester United and the ridiculous fiasco that was the t-shirts supporting him, it's time for Suarez to let his soccer do the talking.
Suarez is a huge talent who has great skills and trickery. It would be ideal for him and Liverpool, if Suarez concentrated on his game and answered all his critics with his play on the field, rather than making any silly comments or getting into any more trouble.
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There is no better way for Suarez to get fans of soccer talking about him again—for all the right reasons— than by scoring goals.
Suarez may have tarnished his name forever with his idiotic behavior but if he starts finding the back of the net again and helps Liverpool get into the top four, it will go a long way to repairing the damage he has brought upon himself.
Suarez has only scored five goals in the Premier League this season. From 69 shots taken, the Liverpool No. 7 has managed just 28 shots on target and his goals per game ratio is 0.30.
For Suarez goals obviously have not been easy to find this season. The last Premiership goal for the Uruguayan was against QPR on December 10th 2011. Before that, he had not scored in the league since Liverpool's win against Everton, back in October.
If Liverpool is to make a serious run at that precious fourth Champions League spot, then they will need Suarez's name to start appearing regularly on the score sheet.
There would be no better way for Suarez to reward the fans who have stuck by him than getting Liverpool back to where they always used to belong, challenging for titles in both England and Europe.
Staying on Feet
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Suarez has gained a reputation as a cheat and a diver. At times it seems he goes to ground as if taken out by the Terminator.
Kenny Dalglish of course defended his player but the accusations continue, and are starting to distract from the good things that Suarez does on the field.
Whether Suarez is the perpetrator of alleged simulation or the victim of vicious fouls, he needs to stay on his feet.
At times this season when Liverpool has needed a goal, it seems that rather than look to score one from open play, Suarez has gone to ground instead. Set pieces are an important weapon in any teams armory but when you have the talent and can get past people the way Suarez can, then staying upright is just as useful.
With Suarez's movement and the panic he causes when running at defenses, he will always face players whose last despairing option to stop him is to bring him down. If Suarez only goes down when deliberately fouled, he will go a long way to ending the cheat tag he's been labeled with, at the same time helping Liverpool to wins.
Liverpool Keep Winning
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No matter what Suarez does on the field, nothing will matter as much as Liverpool winning. With Suarez coming back fresh and Arsenal and Chelsea facing difficult games in Europe, there is every chance Liverpool can close the gap on the teams above them.
There is still a lot of soccer to play before the end of the season and Liverpool, who currently sits in 7th position in the Premier League, is just five points behind Chelsea in fourth.
Between now and the end of May, Liverpool will face all of the teams directly above them in the battle for that elusive fourth Champions League berth.
Liverpool's second from last game of the season could decide the outcome of who is likely to join Manchester City, Manchester United and the Tottenham Hotspurs in the Champions league, when they face Chelsea at home.
A win against Spurs with Suarez scoring the winner, in his first game back, would make a seemingly improbable but altogether far too ominous warning to the rest of the Premier League.
If Suarez and Liverpool can avoid any more trouble and stay focused on the task at hand, then a great season with cup glory and a Championship League place is well within their grasp.