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Forward Friday: El Pistolero, Luis Suarez

by Finbarr 21. July 2011 07:27


As their paths crossed in the Anfield players' car park, Fernando Torres would have been forgiven if he'd gone a little green in the face. For here was his heir apparent bouncing in the door, brimming with confidence; whilst he was to trundle down the M6, a shadow of his former self.

Luis Suarez had big boots to fill. Torres had built a reputation as one of the finest strikers to have worn the Liverpool red: the complete forward. But in recent years, injuries niggled. El Nino looked sullen and detached and for the first time, his attitude was questioned by the Kop.

Fast forward six months and most of the Liverpool fans agree that Henry, Dalglish et al operated shrewdly. Suarez has delighted Kopites with a series of dazzling performance, a tenacity and commitment their forward line had been sorely lacking and a huge injection of South American flair. Whilst he's got a long way to go before he shakes the Kop, the early signs are good.

Before joining Liverpool in the January transfer window of 2011, Suarez's signature was much sought after across the continent. He made his name in the Eredivise in Holland, first with Groningen and then Ajax.

At the Amsterdam Arena, he blossomed into one of the most prolific strikers in Europe. In his third season with the club, he notched an incredible 45 goals in 44 games. He joined the illustrious company of Bergkamp, Cruyff and Van Basten in being scoring over 100 goals for the club and continued in exhilarating fashion for his national side. 

But ironically for someone with such a keen eye for goal, Suarez is not an out an out striker. During the 2010 World Cup, Suarez starred for an impressive Uruguay side that surprised many by making it to the semi final, but he did so as a cog in a triumvirate with Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan. Cavani led the line, with Suarez and Forlan dropping back to support the midfield, creating as many as they scored.

Indeed, Suarez embodied the combination of hard work, quick thinking and élan that Oscar Tabarez instilled in the side. With Uruguay stuttering in this year's Copa America, it was Suarez who stepped up to the plate, firing them through first the Group Stage and then the semi final. Having been cast as the pantomime villian following his goal-line handball in last year's World Cup Semi Final, Suarez is now being heralded for the guts and winning attitude that drove him to bend the rules.

Liverpool fans will have been watching his performances at the Copa America with great interest. In his short spell with the club, Luis Suarez has been hugely impressive, but his partnership with Andy Carroll has yet to ignite.

Carroll has spent the majority of his Liverpool career on the sidelines, injured. The pair are seen as the figureheads of the Dalglish revolution: young, dynamic, exciting. With the squad undergoing a substantial makeover in the summer, fans will be looking to the pair to quickly repay their large transfer fees.

It's an exciting time to be a Liverpool fan and nobody personifies the buzz about Anfield better than Luis Suarez.

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