Luis Suarez a Threat to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Says Steven Gerrard

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2014


Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes Luis Suarez is just behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's legendary quality, "pushing" the pair close with his prolific run of form this season.

Suarez netted his first goal in five Premier League games in the team's recent 3-0 win over Southampton, per WhoScored, allowing Gerrard to pay the Uruguayan striker a major compliment.

Per Joe Batchelor of the Daily Star:

I've run out of words to describe him. We’re blessed in this country to have some really top forwards, top, top attacking players.

But for me, without being biased, he’s the best. I’ve said it many times, I look at Messi and Ronaldo and, yeah, they’re world class players.

But outside of that, you’ve got Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Luis Suarez who are pushing those two really close.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates Steven Gerrard's penalty during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on March 1, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Suarez is currently the season's leading Premier League goalscorer with 24 strikes in 23 appearances. He may have left Anfield during a disgruntled summer if it wasn't for Gerrard, who convinced the player to stay.

"He said I was the best forward he'd ever played with, which given the amazing strikers that he's played with at Liverpool, was amazing for me to hear. I'll never forget that," said Suarez during an interview with FourFourTwo magazine (Chris Richards of the Mirror).

Even though Suarez has struggled to score in recent weeks, he has contributed with plenty of assists. He has 10 for the season, five coming between his last two goals, suggesting Brendan Rodgers' leading man continues to aid the team's title ambitions even when his name doesn't appear on the scoreboard.

Jon Super/Associated Press

This is certainly the mark of a great player, as we've seen with Messi, Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic over the years. In fact, Suarez posts arguably the most prolific creative stats of the quartet for the current campaign:

Luis Suarez vs. The World's Best 2013/14
Player NameLeague Apps.GoalsAssistsGoals per GameAssists per GamePercentage of Team Goals Scored
Luis Suarez2324101.040.4332.88%
Lionel Messi191580.790.4220.27%
Cristiano Ronaldo222361.050.2731.51%
Zlatan Ibrahimovic2622100.850.3834.38%

Suarez has appeared to settle at Anfield after grabbing many negative headlines across previous years. He was charged with racially abusing Patrice Evra in 2011 and ended last year's campaign with a bite of Branislav Ivanovic, an incident that looked as if it would see him moved on.

Armando Franca/Associated Press

Rodgers stuck by the player, and with a little intervention from Gerrard, Liverpool's prospects look extremely strong. Currently four points behind Chelsea with an encounter against Jose Mourinho's men late in the season on April 24, the Reds also have difficult fixtures against Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City to negotiate.

It's worth nothing that only the United fixture is away from Merseyside.

Suarez's form will play a major role in determining where Liverpool end up this campaign. His contribution remains pivotal to the team's success, even when he isn't claiming personal glory with the goals.

Gerrard's suggestion he isn't far behind the world's best can't be argued with right now. Should Suarez help his team to the Premier League title, the gap between these players will shorten further still.