The Capital One Cup third-round tie saw Suarez make a seamless return to action after his 10-game ban for biting. Both he and his Liverpool side turned in a promising performance, after which the striker vowed to fight for the club this season.
Liverpool’s official website provides the quotes:
The result is not good because we lost but the feeling is good because we played very well, we created chances and we missed.
I know it was a difficult moment but for myself and for the team it's very important I'm back because I can help the team and [being] off the pitch I can't. We'll keep going for the week and for the next game.
All the time I try my best on the pitch. I'm here to help the team and help Liverpool and I'll try my best.
Javier Hernandez’s sublime piece of improvised finishing separated the two sides in Manchester, but Liverpool will head back to Merseyside kicking themselves for losing the match.
With Suarez back to lead the attack, Brendan Rodgers’ team caused a catalogue of problems for the United defence as they controlled the game for large portions of the match.
Liverpool enjoyed more possession than their rivals and produced 17 shots on goal (United had one extra attempt), in addition to earning 11 corners to United’s seven.
Suarez was close on several occasions, almost embarrassing Jonny Evans in the first half before cracking the bar with a free-kick in the second. Had strike partner Daniel Sturridge looked as sharp, Liverpool might have been contemplating a fourth-round tie at home to Norwich (GIF courtesy Feint Zebra).
Certainly Rodgers was delighted with Suarez’s display, as reported by Dominic King of the Daily Mail:
I thought he was excellent. He ran himself into the ground and he was always a threat, put defenders on the back foot with a few turns. As he goes on he will get sharper but I was really pleased with him, he was brilliant.
He’s worked very hard. He obviously tired a wee bit but even in the last moments he can still create for you and distract defenders and open up the space. The fans were brilliant to him. The support they have given him is unheralded.
This is such a unique club where they support the players who wear the shirt and they were brilliant towards him. He recognises everything they have given him.
Suarez’s next test comes against Sunderland at the weekend, when Liverpool will look to end their goalscoring drought without Philippe Coutinho.
The injured Brazilian has missed the Reds’ last two games, plus the final 35 minutes at Swansea, during which Liverpool have not scored.
Victor Moses attempted to play the link role at Old Trafford, but rather floated around the pitch, only once offering a true threat when he forced David De Gea to stop his second-half diving header.
However, Suarez showed enough to suggest he might be able to drag Liverpool through a winnable run of fixtures, which includes Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Newcastle and West Brom.