Having arguably been robbed of the PFA Player of the Year award by the love-in for Tottenham’s Gareth Bale back in May, finally credit was put where it was due, and Suarez was rewarded.
As he cosied up for photographs alongside the Telegraph’s Henry Winter, who was named the FSF Writer of the Year, it seemed a defining moment in the career of the 26-year-old.
Winter himself smiled alongside the Premier League's top scorer for the photographers through gritted teeth, having labelled Suarez a “toxic cheat” in the summer.
Though his words in Tuesday’s Telegraph on the ceremony had all the bitterness of any Manchester United supporter towards Liverpool’s large and active fanbase, Winter was right about one thing—Suarez’s fan-voted award was significant considering his past.
Suárez must have felt after all the criticism he has received that this was a night of acceptance, of redemption.
Even if some allowance is made for Liverpool fans’ noted assiduousness in campaigning, Suárez’s success also highlights further the forgiveness of the football fan.
Winter referred to Suarez’s attempts to push his way out of the club in the summer, playing the victim card to the English newspapers—which, at the time, lapped up the headlines like the cat who got the cream.
Indeed, fans were outraged when he claimed Liverpool were going back on a promise that he could leave Anfield, should the club have failed to qualify for the Champions League last season—which they did.
The word "loyalty" was used a lot. Fans saw no way back for the Uruguayan international.
This is what is missing from Suarez's rationale. Sorry Luis, but your debt isn't settled. You are owed nothing, and remain indebted to #LFC.— Kop·ol·o·gy (@Kopology) August 6, 2013
Remember when Suarez promised Dalglish he would shake Evra's hand? Terrible when somebody doesn't keep a promise isn't it @luis16suarez— Liverpool Family (@lfc_family) August 6, 2013
I have lost my respect for Suarez completely— Billy Liddell (@Liddellpool) August 6, 2013
If you didn't miss games from suspension mr Suarez maybe LFC might have made the champions league. It's a disgrace ,— shaun reid (@shaun4reid) August 6, 2013
But this isn’t a romantic relationship, no matter how the media want to dress it up. It’s football—and in football, there’s always a way back.
In a piece for the Guardian in September, when Suarez was still serving his 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic in April, Daniel Taylor hit the nail on the head—Suarez will always answer his critics on the pitch:
Maybe there will be a greater understanding that he cannot continue undermining his own brilliance at a club that has persistently, sometimes desperately, redrawn the line every time he has crossed it. Or maybe we should just fasten our seatbelts and understand that, at this stage of his professional life, second-guessing Suárez and what he is capable of, both good and bad, is never going to be straightforward.
Since his return, which came five games into the Premier League season, there haven't been enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe the form of the former Ajax forward.
Liverpool have one of the best, if not the best, player in the world right now leading their front line. Every week opposition, fans and pundits are left in awe at the wonder of Suarez.
Suarez’s regular media appearances of late, being interviewed in English, will no doubt help with his PR team’s drive to redefine his image in English and world football, just as the birth of his son, Benjamin, will help mature him.
Call it fickle, or call it part of football—fans can forgive and forget for the right player.