Luis Suarez: 10 Reasons Liverpool's Striker is the Best in the Premier League

David HendrickContributor IIISeptember 26, 2011

Luis Suarez: 10 Reasons Liverpool's Striker is the Best in the Premier League

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    Luis Suarez made his Liverpool debut on February 2, 2011 as a substitute against Stoke City in a Premier League match at Anfield.

    Having arrived just days earlier in a big money move from Ajax, Suarez had only trained with his new teammates on a handful of occasions.

    But you never would have known it. He immediately showed why Damien Comolli had brought him to Anfield with a debut goal and some excellent link-up play, quality passing and intelligent movement.

    From the moment Suarez walked on to the Anfield turf until now, Suarez has been Liverpool's best and most important player. Liverpool have, to some extent, become Luis Suarez and 10 others. When Suarez has played well, Liverpool have played well.

    He's not just their most potent goalscorer, he's their most creative player, as well.

    In my honest opinion, he has quickly become the best striker in the English Premier League. There are strikers who are better goalscorers than him, but for my money there's nobody that has his all-round game.

    In this article I will set out ten aspects of his game that give me reason to believe Suarez is the best in the Premier League. I hope you enjoy.

Work Rate

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    The first thing you notice about Suarez when watching him play is his work rate. He never stops running, never stops trying harassing defenders and never stops trying to get himself into positions to create a target for his teammates to find him with a pass.

    Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez are two strikers who have been praised throughout their careers for their work rate and Suarez is their equal in this respect.

    When Suarez walks off the pitch you can be certain that he has given everything he has to help his team win. 

    Regardless of his performance on any given day, Suarez gives his all and that's one of the things that makes him a great player.

Will to Win

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    Suarez's work rate comes from his burning desire to succeed. The Uruguayan front man will literally give anything to help his team win. We have witnessed, on more than one occasion, him remonstrate furiously with officials when he feels he has been wronged.

    He's not afraid to speak his mind to officials, and as a result will pick up bookings when he takes it too far. While some fans will say he should curb that aspect of himself, I think it would be a mistake if he did so.

    To simply accept some of the poor decisions that have gone against him this season would be unnatural for him. And Suarez is a player who needs to let his emotions out when they build up or they could end up boiling over.

    A prime example of his willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed came in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinal match between Uruguay and Ghana.

    With his team hanging on in the face of a Ghanaian siege of their goal, Suarez used his hands to deny Ghana a certain goal which would have seen Uruguay eliminated from the competition and was sent off.

    While he received much criticism for his action, I personally support what he did. By stopping the goal, he sacrificed himself, but he also kept his team in the tournament. Because of his sacrifice and Ghana's failure to convert from twelve yards, Uruguay progressed to the next round.

    A player who is willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the team is exactly the type of player Liverpool fans want at their club.

    Another prime example of his will to win and his desire to play for football has been shown when he has been substituted against both Bolton and Wolves.

    Suarez was furious at being taken off on both occasions, and rightfully so. Personally I hate to see players walking off with a smile on their face. It should be every players ambition to start and finish every game possible.

    I think there are very few players who possess Suarez's burning desire to win every game, and even less that can couple it with his level of ability.

Versatility

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    Suarez's willingness to win is also shown in his willingness to play in multiple positions. During his career to date, he has played as a right winger, a left winger, a centre-forward, a lone strikers, a second (withdrawn) striker and on the left and right of three-man strike forces.

    While there are other strikers who can do a job for a team in all of these positions—such as Wayne Rooney of Manchester United—I don't think there's a player in the world who can perform to the same standard as Suarez in such a multitude of positions.

    Played in any of the roles I mentioned, Suarez is a world class player. Allow me to say that again: Luis Suarez is world class in no fewer than seven different positions.

    While some will claim that a lot of the positions are the same, that is inaccurate. There are similarities but each different position comes with different requirements, different needs and a different understanding of the game.

    Being able to adapt from position to position is something very few players can truly accomplish.

Selflessness

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    Suarez's willingness to play in a multitude of positions is a sign of his selfless attitude, as is his love of an assist.

    Suarez is a rare breed of striker who is just as happy to create for others as he is to score himself. Since arriving at Liverpool Suarez has eight goals and eight assists in 21 games, although that doesn't truly represent the number of goals he has created.

    Suarez has been involved in the majority of goals Liverpool have scored while he's been on the pitch since his arrival at Anfield. For example, despite not being credited with any assists, Suarez created was largely responsible for two of Liverpool's three goals against Bolton this season.

    His willingness to create goals for others can sometimes cost him chances for himself.

    In several games he has been so eager to involve his strike partners that he has often passed up potential goalscoring opportunities for himself.

    That shows a team player, and at Liverpool it's all about the team. If his teammates were all of his quality, there would be a goal rush every time the Reds took the field.

Vision and Passing Ability

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    Suarez's ability to create goals for others is aided by his magnificent vision and passing ability.

    Just have a look at the pass he plays to Stewart Downing for the first Liverpool goal against Bolton. Magnificent. If you see a finer pass in the Premier League this season, savour it, because it will have to be other-worldly.

    Suarez has the type of third-eye footballing vision usually only found in midfield play makers of the very highest level. That sort of vision would be wasted without top quality passing skills, but luckily Suarez possesses them, too. 

    If he ever gets bored playing as a striker, I have no doubts he could slide into central midfield and turn himself into a top class playmaker.

    I wouldn't be too worried about the physical side of things; Luis fears nothing and has already shown himself to have plenty of "bite" when needed.

Movement and Strength

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    Passing skills mean very little if you don't have the time and space to make use of them.

    The great players in world football have always been able to find that extra yard of space in which to play. There's a myth that without pace you can't play in certain leagues because you can't find space without it.

    That's utter nonsense. Pace has nothing to do with finding space

    The Premier League and La Liga are two fast paced games, but if you look at some of the greatest players to grace either in the last 20 years—Paul Scholes, Eric Cantona, Juan Carlos Valeron and Xavi, to name a few— these are not players with great pace. 

    What they had was intelligence; speed of thought so to speak. The ability to drift into space and make yourself available for the ball.

    Suarez has that type of ability, and for my money, there's not a striker in the league that comes close to him in this aspect. He always seems to be able to find room, even when surrounded by defenders.

    The great thing about Suarez, though, is that he doesn't always need that extra bite of space.

    Even when defenders are in close quarters, he's got the strength to hold them off, keep the ball and use it wisely. It's extremely rare that you find strikers with his level of technical ability and also great body strength.

    Rooney has the same sort of strength, but not the same level of technical ability. Aguero has the technical ability, but not the strength.

    Suarez is a rare breed.

Quick Feet and Dribbling Ability

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    Take a minute and enjoy the video.

    Now, with that out of the way, consider what you have just seen. Suarez has used his intelligent movement to find space in the penalty area between three Manchester United defenders, and he then used his strength to hold off two players to keep the ball.

    Then he has shown one of the gifts that sets him apart in the Premier League: In the space of eight yards, he has walked past three Manchester United defenders using his incredibly quick feet and his fantastic dribbling ability.

    The art of dribbling is a dying one. Sure there a plenty of step-over merchants, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, who can bamboozle a defender with some Riverdance style moves.

    I've heard people outlandishly claim that Ronaldo is the best dribbler in the world, but the truth is, when it's all said and done, 90 percent of the time he beats players with sheer pace and nothing more. Gareth Bale is another acclaimed dribbler, but he's just a poke and chase merchant. 

    Suarez is right up their with the very best in the world when it comes to dribbling ability and the key behind it is his quick feet, and quick thinking.

Inventiveness and Unpredictability

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    One of the things that makes Suarez such a great dribbler is his unpredictability and his inventiveness.

    Luis Suarez doesn't understand the word "can't." Nothing is impossible when Suarez is on the pitch. Just when defenders think they have him stopped, he pulls something out of thin air to leave them standing.

    His goal against Sunderland last season was a great example of his unpredictability.

    Who shoots from that angle? No goalkeeper would have expected him to try his luck from there and it gives him a big advantage over opponents.

    Another great example, which I have unfortunately been unable to find a video of, came this past Saturday in the match against Wolves. With his back to goal, a defender all over him and little room to work, Suarez created a chance out of nothing with a sumptuous back heel through the legs of his marker, which he somehow kept in play before squaring the ball for his fellow attackers.

    The unpredictable nature of his game is another aspect of Suarez that sets him apart from the other strikers in the Premier League. 

Goalscoring Ability

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    I made reference to Suarez's goal against Stoke in the last slide and that leads me nicely into this one.

    Suarez is a fantastic goalscorer.

    There are more natural goalscorers than him, including Robin Van Persie, Edin Dzeko and Chicharito, but he's still a world class goalscorer.

    Some have claimed that he's a poor finisher, which is utter rubbish.

    He's not Robbie Fowler, but who is? I'm not going to bother arguing this point. All I will say is in his 300 senior club and international appearances, he has 167 goals.

    Whatever way you look at it, that's a fantastic return. There are very few strikers who can match that sort of prolific output. There's also about 80 assists to go with that. That means in every six games he plays, on average he scores or makes the final pass for a goal in five of them.

    Still not convinced? Watch the video. 

Ability to Carry a Team

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    He's a world class goalscorer and a world class creator. He does it all.

    Do I need to point out that he leads Liverpool in both goals and assists this season? Are there any other strikers in the Premier League who can make that claim? I don't think there is.

    Liverpool fans may not appreciate the following statement, but it needs to be said: Without Luis Suarez, Liverpool would be a very average team and likely would be closer to the bottom of the table than the top of it thus far this season.

    Suarez has carried Liverpool thus far this season, just as he did last season after his arrival from Ajax. Without him they would have serious difficulties not just scoring goals, but also creating chances to score goals.

    He was Liverpool's best player against Sunderland and scored their only goal. He changed the game against Arsenal after coming on and scored and caused both goals. He was in sparkling form against Bolton and created two goals while playing a part in the other.

    Without him in the team you'd have to wonder how many of those seven points Liverpool would have accumulated. My guess is four, because I think they could still have drawn with Sunderland and beaten Bolton. But neither of those are particularly big achievements.

    He was also the best player on the pitch in the defeat against Stoke. No Liverpool player came away from Spurs with any real credit, so that match should just be forgotten about. And he was, by some distance, the best player on the park against Wolves and went home that evening as the sole reason Liverpool came away with three points.

    Ten points from six games is not a fantastic return for Liverpool, but without Suarez it would be far worse.

    He is the only striker in the league currently carrying his team to this extent. Without Rooney, United still have the attacking options to be a top four team. Same goes for City without Aguero, and Chelsea without Torres.

    Arguably the only two strikers with similar expectations on them are Adebayor at Spurs, who has a far greater supporting cast than Suarez, and Van Persie at Arsenal. Neither of them will be looked at as scorer and creator in chief for their teams to the extent Suarez will be at Liverpool though.

    The return of Steven Gerrard will relieve some of the burden on the Uruguayan, although Liverpool fans might be wise to temper their expectations on Gerrard, who is returning from a long absence and can't be expected to display his top form immediately.

Conclusion

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    And there you have it: My ten reasons why Luis Suarez is the best striker in the English Premier League.

    With a bit of luck Damien Comolli and Kenny Dalglish will focus on bringing more players of his quality to the club to ensure that the Copa America is not the only trophy he kisses in the coming years.

    I hope you've enjoyed the article. Please feel free to check out my other articles which can be found on my home page. There you'll also find links to my Facebook and twitter accounts where you can keep track of my latest articles, rants and ramblings. Thanks for reading.

     

    On the topic of EPL strikers, you might also find this piece on Mario Balotelli to be of interest.