God I love saying that nickname. Don't you?
There are some player reviews that are hard to write, with many factors to consider. Then there are some that basically write themselves. This one's the latter. Luis arrived in January with an injury, and so we waited. And waited. We thought we knew what we were getting, we'd watched him at the World Cup where he and Diego Forlan tore some teams apart. His performance against South Korea was especially class. But how much of that was Suarez and how much was benefiting from an other-worldly performance from Forlan? We we're going to find out. We knew about the record in Holland. 57 goals in 63 games the previous two seasons. But that was Holland. You just had to remain upright and pointed even slightly in the right direction to score in the Eredivise, right? Maybe this was too much money...
Finally, he came on vs. Stoke. He was immediately bright and fearless. He always seemed to be in the right spot, just as he was when Kuyt put him through clean on goal in the dying minutes. It was pretty obvious he was going around the keeper, which he did just a touch excitedly. The ball got just slightly too far away, and his finish wasn't as assured. It got to the net anyway, and you could feel it building.
Then came the first start against Wigan, where he was again the liveliest player on the pitch. The touch, the control, the tricks. This is what Luis Garcia was supposed to be, right? And for all the wonderful things he did, I don't recall Garcia striking utter terror in opponents, more just popping up at the right time. Garcia never dominated a match. Did Suarez ever not?
But we didn't know what we had until United came calling. At some point during that match, Wes Brown wet himself. Chris Smalling cried in the fetal position in his own box, and Rafael...well, just showed more interest in his own hair than usual. Suarez took England's best team and thoroughly cock-slapped them with a horsedick. After that, the league was on notice. Three more goals against Fulham (a ridiculously arrogant and classy finish), Newcastle, and that geometry nightmare against Sunderland. Fullbacks and centerbacks alike bamboozled. It was wonderful.
I haven't been a supporter all my life, so my sample size isn't as large as others' (whatever joke you want to make here, I can't stop you). But in the 15 years or so that I have been following the Reds, I can't remember a player like Suarez lining up for them. Garcia was the closest I could come up with, he had the same knack for big goals and intention of taking players on. But he never made it work as well, and I rarely remember him beating three or four at a time. Harry Kewell was supposed to be, but he couldn't stay even in three pieces, and wasn't as lethal. Steve McManaman had the same problem. Jari Litmanen, had he arrived younger, may have been close. But he was more cerebral.
With that, we then get to enjoy a truly unique player in Liverpool's recent history. Can he live up to the outsized expectations we now have of him? I think so. He's only had a half-season in the Premier League, what happens when he actually knows what's going on? What happens when he's linking with better players from midfield, as he and Gerrard only got one start together and Adam and Henderson coming in? What happens when Andy Carroll is finally healthy and they build an understanding (if they actually can)?
There are some worries. He dives a little too much. If a Champions League place isn't achieved this season, how long will he go without? Would a big season have some of Europe's giants getting off the train at Lime St. with suitcases full of unimaginable cash? Would FSG be able to hold out?
But those are questions for another time. Now, we just look forward to a season with one of Europe's most deadly forwards. Can't wait, Bart Scott.