When Luis Suarez got banned for eight games, Liverpool acted as if they had just lost the best striker in the world. They acted like life on Merseyside could not go on.
Is Luis Suarez really the amazing forward that the Liverpool faithful would have everyone believe, or is he just a little bit overrated?
Stats often don’t give the true picture of how well a player performs, but one stat is crucial if you’re going to spend £23m on a striker: goals scored. After all, that’s what you pay top dollar for, and Suarez just hasn't delivered.
The Uruguayan has only scored six goals this season in the Premier League, with three assists. Yes, he poses a threat when he runs with the ball, but he tries to do too much, and needs far too many chances to score goals.
He has had 95 shots this season. Compare this with someone like Peter Odemwingie, who receives nothing like the attention that the Cannibal of Ajax gets, yet has scored nine goals in 23 games, using only 56 shots.
When you buy a striker, you expect goals from him—that’s his job. In fact, it’s his only job. You don’t buy a washing machine and expect it to cook your morning fry up, and if Suarez isn't hitting the back of the net on a regular basis, then he isn’t worth the £23m that Liverpool paid for him from Ajax.
Of course, Suarez scored a lot of goals in Dutch football, an impressive 49 in 2009-2010. He is still a good footballer; he has quick, tricky feet, good pace and lovely awareness of what is happening around him. However, a lot of strikers score a lot of goals in Holland and then struggle outside of the league.
Remember Afonso Alves? The Heerenveen striker that scored 34 goals in the 2006-2007 season earned a big money move to Middlesbrough—then he looked totally out of his depth, scored only four goals in 31 games in '08-'09 and got sold in 2009 to a Qatari club.
There is another factor that must be considered if you are to determine the worth of a player to any particular club, and it is this: are they are a force for good, or a disruptive influence within the camp?
Many players better than Suarez are handed their walking notice for falling into the latter category. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a player that Liverpool would die to have on their side; he scored 21 goals in his début season at Barcelona, but they got rid of him. The reason? He is a bad person to have around the dressing room.
Liverpool should cut their ties with Suarez, gather a sizeable transfer fee for him and invest the money in a proper goal scorer.