The holiday season is a time of good will, and Steven Gerrard delivered Luis Suarez a touching gesture on Christmas Eve—acknowledging him as “the best player in the world” in an interview with Sky Sports.
The sizzling form Suarez has been in this season certainly ranks him up there with the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Some may go as far as arguing that had the Ballon d’Or voting not finished several weeks ago, Suarez would be a late contender for the prestigious award.
In 2014 onward, Suarez has the opportunity to go from being Liverpool's best player, to Liverpool's greatest player.
The world of football ran out of superlatives for Suarez a long time ago.
Since getting back into the Premier League's stride after missing the first five games of the season, Suarez has swept away defence after defence.
Such is his prolonged goalscoring streak that it becomes a hazy area to decide when good form ends and an exceptionally talented, consistent footballing genius begins.
When the legendary Dixie Dean scored 60 goals in a season his rate was 1.53 goals per game. Suarez's current rate is 1.58. Unreal.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) December 21, 2013
The Uruguayan has 19 goals in just 12 appearances this season, and a phenomenal Squawka performance score of 893.
In addition to his free-scoring, Suarez has racked up 38 chances for Liverpool—the latest being an unselfish lay-off to Raheem Sterling for the England Under-21 international to score Liverpool's second goal against Cardiff on Saturday.
Aside from the stats, his game is becoming complete.
The 26-year-old never gives up running. He must be one of the most tiring players for a Premier League defender to face.
His constant repositioning, chasing the ball, wanting to be part of the action, allows him to open up space away from any marking system.
The more space a striker of his calibre finds himself in, the more chances he will have.
When it comes to a striker with such a good, natural finishing technique and so many opportunities in front of goal, the law of averages dictates a goal frenzy.
Luis Suarez was our Squawka Man of the Match this afternoon. He added another 2 goals to his tally from 9 attempts. pic.twitter.com/ZbeIecHTVS— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 21, 2013
Defenders just cannot cope, as fans are left in awe at the wonder of him.
Better Than All The Rest
Such is Suarez's incredible run of form that he is finally being mentioned among the world's best footballers.
In terms of the league's great strikers who have come before him, Suarez is starting to edge even Alan Shearer and Ronaldo.
Luis Suarez is ahead of the rate set by Ronaldo and Shearer. pic.twitter.com/CBX39ELOXA— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) December 21, 2013
To be regarded as the best player in the world right now, Suarez needs to trump both Messi and Ronaldo, who have together made that conversation their own for several years.
Messi's injury problems for Barcelona this season have prevented him from shining as much as he could, but eight goals in 11 games, plus 19 further goal chances, according to Squawka, is still a very impressive record.
Ronaldo is having a superb 2013/14 too—netting 18 goals in 16 games and creating a further 21 chances.
There are other players on the fringe, too. Franck Ribery and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have both had excellent 2013s, while the 19 goals in 17 games from Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa cannot go ignored either.
This is usually where a debate on the Premier League vs. La Liga begins in that Suarez is breaking all these records in world football in arguably the toughest, and tightest, league in the world. But that's for another article.
From "Best" to "Greatest"
With every game, Suarez is proving why Liverpool were so adamant on him staying in the summer and, more recently, signing a new contract.
He has the energy to yap at Premier League defenders for the full 90 minutes, exhausting them into the ground and producing little bits of magic.
Records Luis Suarez has broken already this season. Probably a lot more to come at this rate. pic.twitter.com/naLxafhfMU— Kop 305 (@Kop305) December 22, 2013
Gerrard's exact quotes in the Sky Sports interview to be broadcast on Christmas Day were, "On current form he's the best player in the world."
Now Suarez must continue that form and turn it into successful form with Liverpool. That means starting with qualifying for the Champions League.
There's little doubt that, after acknowledging the physiological and scientific advances of footballers in the modern age, Suarez is up there with the best Liverpool players of all time.
Now he has the opportunity to go on and and be one of the greatest Liverpool players of all time. That means winning trophies.