Amidst all the negative reaction that has come Suarez’s (and Liverpool’s) way, it’s easy to forget that in Suarez, Liverpool have one of the most exhilarating forwards in Europe, let alone the Premier League.
If that fact had slipped just a bit under the radar, it emphatically returned to the surface.
In the spirit of celebrating a genuine talent, let’s take a look at Luis Suarez’s 10 greatest moments for Liverpool so far.
It all started on Feb. 2, just a few days after completing his £22.8 million transfer from AFC Ajax.
Stoke City were the visitors to Anfield that day as the Kop witnessed the beginning of Luis Suarez’s Liverpool career with a second-half introduction.
Fifteen minutes later, Dirk Kuyt’s header put Suarez through on goal before the Reds’ new No. 7 touched the ball past Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and finished it via Andy Wilkinson’s boot.
If Stoke was Suarez’s first steps to stardom, he well and truly announced his arrival on the Premier League stage with a virtuosic display against eternal rivals Manchester United.
Dirk Kuyt notched a hat trick on that sunny day in March at Anfield, but it was Suarez who was the catalyst behind Liverpool’s impressive 3-1 win over the Red Devils, creating two of Kuyt’s three goals.
The third, a free kick whose spill by Edwin van der Sar allowed Kuyt to nip in and complete his hat trick, was tidy, but the first will live long in the memory.
Receiving the ball inside the box, Suarez turned and twisted his way past three defenders before laying the ball for Kuyt to finish from less than a yard.
That same march, the Stadium of Light witnessed yet another touch of genius from Suarez.
The goal was simple enough in its buildup, but the execution and finish were far from simple.
Suarez received the ball on the right flank following a throw-in and powered his way into the box before unleashing a shot from an impossible angle through Simon Mignolet and into the far corner.
He’s not a spectacular goal scorer by any means (though there have been signs that he is improving his conversion this season), but he is definitely a scorer of spectacular goals.
Liverpool’s 0-2 loss at home to Arsenal earlier this season may still rankle because of the manner in which Brendan Rodgers’ team was defeated at Anfield, but just a year and two months ago it was Liverpool who inflicted a home loss at Arsenal.
The catalyst of which was, of course, that man Suarez.
Having returned from a Copa America-winning summer tournament with Uruguay, Suarez was gradually eased back into the side, but his substitute appearance at the Emirates Stadium confirmed that he was back both physically and mentally.
It was his work rate up front forced Ignasi Miquel into clearing against Aaron Ramsey and forcing an own goal for a late opener, and his tap-in from Raul Meireles’ pass sealed the points for Liverpool on the day.
During his time at Anfield, Suarez has been known chiefly for two things (well, aside from the simulation and the controversy): nutmegs and spectacular goals.
In October 2011, he combined both to conjure a goal right out of the top drawer against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium in the Carling Cup.
Trailing Stoke in the 54th minute, Suarez received the ball on the left of the box, nutmegged Ryan Shotton and proceeded to curl a 20-yarder past the despairing dive of Thomas Sorensen.
Liverpool ended the night 2-1 winners and went through to the quarterfinals of a competition they would eventually win in February.
As Liverpool are currently toiling in the Premier League and have just exited the Capital One Cup courtesy of Brendan Rodgers’ former side Swansea City, it’s easy to forget that the Reds actually made it to two cup finals last season.
The first, the Carling Cup, was won in February in a typically Liverpool manner: a nerve-wracking penalty shootout, but the second, the FA Cup, was lost against Chelsea in May.
The buildup to Wembley, though, involved a classic Merseyside derby semifinal clash, in which Daniel Agger and Jamie Carragher’s hesitant clearance allowed Nikica Jelavic to open the scoring.
Suarez, however, capitalized on an errant Sylvain Distin backpass on 62 minutes and finished coolly with the outside of his boot past Tim Howard to equalize for Liverpool.
Andy Carroll’s last-gasp header off Craig Bellamy’s free kick led Jamie Carragher to proclaim that the goal was worth his £35 million transfer fee and that Carroll would be remembered forever.
Back in the Premier League at Carrow Road, Suarez tormented Norwich City with a fantastic display, scoring a spectacular hat trick.
His first goal came after good midfield work by Steven Gerrard, who dinked the first-time pass into Suarez’s path before the No. 7 duly lashed a left-foot shot past John Ruddy.
The second goal was all Suarez, as his good pressure on the right wing enabled him to pounce on hesitant defending before powering into the box and finishing into the far corner.
His third goal was the icing on the cake, as he not so much spearheaded a Reds counterattack than ended it around the halfway line by launching a Xabi Alonso-esque looping effort from 55 yards out past a stranded Ruddy off his line.
Little did he, or Norwich, know that just a few months later he would be up to his (hat) tricks again.
While not matching the sheer brilliance of his exploits five months back, Suarez’s hat trick in October 2012 was supplemented by an assist for Nuri Sahin, and a fifth goal from Steven Gerrard gave Liverpool a 5-2 away win at Carrow Road.
The second goal, of course, showed his mental resolve (and profligacy from easy chances), as he recovered from a glaring miss to win back possession, nutmeg a defender and finished with ease and class.
There are few better ways to cement yourself as an Anfield favorite than to torment both Manchester United and Everton.
After his previous displays against them, Suarez was at it again in late October, as he traveled to Goodison Park and almost single-handedly brought back a point (which should have been three) for Liverpool.
Their first goal, which was set up by Jose Enrique via a delicious Suso through-ball, was struck by Suarez off the thigh of Leighton Baines, while the second came as he headed a Steven Gerrard free kick past Tim Howard.
There should have been a third as his injury-time effort was wrongly ruled out for offside, but it was his classic celebration of the first that will be remembered fondly in the Kop for years to come.
Having been publicly criticized by David Moyes prior to the game for his playacting, Suarez celebrated in true mocking fashion by running in front of the Everton bench and pulling a Jurgen Klinsmann special.
Suarez’s special goal against Newcastle this Sunday joins the Suarez Moments Pantheon.
Amidst a familiar storyline of Liverpool dominating a match and failing to take away all three points, Suarez provided the spark and a much-needed impetus for Brendan Rodgers’ team.
Jose Enrique’s long ball forward was always ambitious and perhaps even speculative, but Suarez turned it into a world-class assist by chesting it down, shifting it past the keeper and directing it into the goal with his right foot.
All this done within 10 yards of movement.
Now that we’ve covered our top 10 Suarez moments, let’s hear your picks.
These were all goal-related moments, but there are tons of other touches of brilliance that we have witnessed from Suarez in his Liverpool career thus far: his left-wing cross from the outside of his right boot to set up Stewart Downing against Bolton; his all-round display against Fulham, and many more.
Which ones did we leave out?
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