Chelsea Show England Boss Roy Hodgson Exactly How to Stop Luis Suarez

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on December 29, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

He may have recently been crowned Player of the Year, but as Chelsea have shown this season, Luis Suarez is far from an unstoppable force.

After Sunday's 2-0 victory at Anfield, the Blues finish the campaign with a 4-1 aggregate score against Liverpool, with Suarez largely ineffective during their two Premier League encounters.

If Roy Hodgson wasn't watching, he should have been—Jose Mourinho has shown the England boss how to stop the Uruguayan when the Three Lions meet with Los Charruas in Brazil this summer.

Indeed, the stats say so much about Suarez's performances whenever he has come face-to-face with Mourinho's defence:

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 27: Luis Suarez of Liverpool makes a point to the referee Mr M Atkinson  during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 27, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Call it a bus or even two, for all his talents, Suarez hasn't had an answer for what Chelsea have put before him this term.

He has been severely restricted from causing any damage, being denied a goal or even a clear-cut opportunity to score.

At Anfield on Sunday, much like his team-mates, Chelsea's stubborn rearguard frustrated Suarez like no other, and he was forced to pepper Mark Schwarzer's goal with long-range efforts in a bid to break through the wall of Chelsea players.

Jon Super

Of his four efforts on goal, just one came inside the box—this from a player who has scored 23 of his 30 2013-14 Premier League goals in the opposition's penalty area.

It was a similar story at Stamford Bridge in late December.

Suarez may have been involved in Martin Skrtel's opener that day, but his impact on the game after those early exchanges was largely forgettable.

Just two shots on goal for him against Chelsea, with John Terry and his team-mates ensuring it was another quiet day at the office.

What's interesting is how, in each case, Mourinho and Chelsea have forced Suarez away from the position he enjoys the most—being in front of goal.

It's a simple solution, but take Suarez away from the danger area and he is less effective. If Suarez is less effective, so too are Liverpool.

Suarez vs. Chelsea in December
Suarez vs. Chelsea in DecemberSqauwka

His action zones from that 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge outline how Suarez, by being snuffed out close to goal, was forced away in order to seek possession, to have some sort of impact.

As the below shows against Cardiff City on Mar. 22, when Suarez scored a hat-trick in Liverpool's 6-3 win, it was a far different story—his three goals coming from almost identical positions in the Bluebirds' box:

Suarez vs. Cardiff City in March
Suarez vs. Cardiff City in MarchSquawka

Brendan Rodgers may suggest it's otherwise, but it wasn't through an ultimate defensive display that Chelsea proved superior on either occasion they faced Suarez this season.

It was simply smart defending; smart tactics.

Taking a deeper line, Chelsea didn't allow Suarez to get in behind with his runs that exploit defenders, and as they showed at Anfield, by having their full-backs playing narrower, the Uruguayan struggled to stretch the Blue's defence.

All angles were snuffed out and in the way Mourinho teams often do, Chelsea kept pushing and pushing, eventually grinding Liverpool down to a position where they could capitalize on errors.

It was a game of patience. Who would blink first? It soon turned out to be Liverpool, Steven Gerrard of all people slipping to allow Demba Ba in on goal.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 27: Luis Suarez of Liverpool looks to go past Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea  during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 27, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Ge
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

How Suarez must have craved an opportunity such as that.

It wouldn't have been forthcoming, however. Not against Chelsea; not Mourinho's Chelsea.

The Blues' boss is too canny for that. He overloaded the Chelsea defence at times and the sheer numbers suffocated Liverpool and Suarez, in particular.

Without space he cannot operate, and Chelsea took it away from him.

Come the World Cup, England will need to remain resolute against Uruguay. It's not just about Suarez, of course—Edinson Cavani will bring problems of his own.

Yet, Hodgson will make far worse decisions than reviewing Mourinho's tactics this term.

England cannot afford to be expansive in the same way Chelsea's personnel at Anfield restricted their own options, but they still maintained Suarez's poor record against them.

It certainly gives Hodgson and England food for thought.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes