Luis Suarez: The 3 Biggest Faults with His Game

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2012

Luis Suarez: The 3 Biggest Faults with His Game

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    Liverpool forward Luis Suarez is one of the most fiercely driven, skillful and valuable top-quality players the Premier League has to offer.

    For his team he is a match-winner, one of the few they possess. With a quick shift of acceleration, driving for a gap the defender never even knew was there, Suarez can turn just another normal moment in a game to one of danger and a chance for his team to score.

    His teammates rely on him, the manager relies on him and the fans just can't get enough of him.

    With 10 league goals to his name already this season—and a few more in the cups—he is still improving and has yet to peak, which defenders must find a fearsome prospect.

    Signature Suarez moves are what make games worth going to for some supporters: That determination to get around the centre-back on the goal line and stride towards the near post, the refusal to believe that with the ball at his feet he could do anything but take on the last three or four players and score and of course the ceaseless, mortifying nutmegs for the defenders to take.

    He does love those nutmegs.

    So is all well and good for Suarez? Can he be left alone to work his wonders and magic and win games for Liverpool time after time?

    Of course not.

    Like any other player, he has his flaws and his faults. He has parts of his game he needs to improve and some that he may never master.

    Here are the three biggest faults with the Uruguayan's game right now.

Attitude Towards Officials

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    Luis Suarez is a talented man, and is fiercely hungry to win every game possible.

    As such, when things don't go his way he has a tendency to get hugely frustrated, both with himself and others.

    On the occasions when an offside decision is called against him, he isn't awarded a foul or concedes one himself, Suarez is frequently seen gesticulating and shouting towards the official in question, be it referee or assistant.

    In part his frustration is justified; there have been countless times when a clear and blatant foul has been committed on him yet no free kick is given Liverpool's way.

    But he does need to rein in his willingness to shout at the officials when this happens, or worse, to sarcastically applaud them—more than once he has been booked for this and at present he finds himself with a one-match domestic suspension after accruing five yellow cards.

    There also lingers the accusations of diving.

    Suarez has dived before, nobody can argue with that, but despite clearly—to anybody who has watched all his fixtures this season—backing off from doing so over the past couple of months, his reputation is such that a single instance of diving can undo all the good he has done previously.

    Nobody is to be blamed for this other than the man himself, and though it seems to be a part of his game he is working on, or being actively instructed not to repeat, it is not yet eradicated completely.

    The lame effort against Stoke will live long in the memory for some, though again it was borne of frustration with a ridiculous number of fouls against him going unpunished.

    Respect towards officials is to be shown by all players, regardless of injustices they feel have been done against them, and Suarez must continue to work on this.

Tendency to Do It All Himself

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    As with many players' faults, this one is a double-edged sword.

    Luis Suarez can at times be very frustrating to watch because he tries to take on too many players, invariably losing the ball just by sheer weight of opponents crowding him out.

    He is immensely talented and his dribbling skills are unlike those of anybody else in the Premier League at this point, combining superb balance and ball control with a strange ability to see ricochets and deflections bounce his way off other players' shins more often than not.

    And of course, many chances to score for himself or others come about as a result of Suarez attempting the improbable, beating men near the byline and finding space where none appeared to be.

    There are occasions though, and sometimes several of them in a single half of football, when his manager and teammates must wish he'd simply lay the ball off to a nearby fellow Red and get himself in the penalty box.

    Suarez can get annoyed because the players he is alongside are not up to his level of ability, cannot think as quickly or act as instinctively in the final third as he does—and so he tries to take on several players and shoot himself.

    It's great when it comes off, but as evidenced from his 40 percent success rate from dribbles this season (50 successful from 126 attempted) there are certainly times when he would be better off curbing his admirable enthusiasm and optimism, and simply passing to a teammate to keep possession.

    There are also instances when a successful dribble has gotten Suarez into a great position, often near the corner of the six-yard box after beating a man by the touchline, when he has the opportunity to pass or pull the ball back to an on-rushing team mate.

    Usually this would result in a clear chance to shoot at goal, but being the outrageously confident and talented player he is, Suarez often opts to shoot himself in these instances.

    He might not be the player he is if his natural inclination was to pass instead of shoot in those moments, but when he's off balance and hasn't had the extra fraction of a second to get his angles right, Suarez needs to learn when the time is right to pass to a teammate instead.

Finishing off His Chances

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    Being joint-top scorer of the Premier League with 10 goals, sharing the position with Michu and Robin van Persie, has helped Suarez silence many of his critics who claimed that last season's haul of 17 goals in all competitions wasn't enough.

    They were right, to a point, but they also conveniently ignored the fact that he missed nine domestic games due to suspension. That's a quarter of the Premier League season, and Liverpool weren't in Europe last year either.

    So 17 wasn't exactly a low number, but admittedly he had a whole host of chances to add to that tally.

    This term his finishing percentage is up significantly, from scoring with 10 percent of his chances last season to 14 percent this year.

    He has also lowered his minutes-per-goal ratio considerably, knocking off more than one match per goal (232 min. to 135 min.).

    All this points to a huge improvement in his personal level, yet Suarez can do even more. Until his latest run of three games without a goal, he actually had a better shot conversion rate that Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (16 percent versus 14 percent).

    Needing only one more league goal to equal his tally from last year, Suarez is well on course to hit 20 for the season in the Premier League alone this term. He should do it, and can be well pleased with his contributions if he does so.

    But there is still much more to come from Suarez on this stage and bringing in better quality final-third players over the coming transfer windows will be key to that. The more high-quality chances Suarez gets on goal, the more times he will score.

    The highest indication of his increased composure and ability to score in clear situations is that, quite simply, he's scoring them far more often this year.

    Last season Suarez recorded a 25 percent rate in netting from clear chances—seven from 28 attempts.

    This season he's scored six of them from 14 chances, a 43 percent success rate.

    He'll always score the worldies himself that he's quickly become renowned for, but give Suarez good quality chances to finish off and he could become the complete forward Liverpool have hoped for since his transfer from Ajax.

    Statistics from