THAT one really hurt. With West Brom’s victory at Anfield on Sunday condemning Liverpool to their 12th defeat of the season, one has to question whether there has been a more disappointing league campaign in recent years. The Carling Cup victory back in February and the forthcoming FA Cup Final against a resurgent Chelsea are the clubs only rewards this year. However, every Liverpool fan knows that this is not enough.
With the promise that new signings would deliver in the summer, no football fan would have bet on Liverpool finishing outside the top 4. Well, the fact is that Liverpool are 8th, just two points ahead of teams in the bottom half of the table.
Just like his club, Luis Suarez has had a tumultuous and eventful season. The unnecessary outburst of negativity from the press that came with the Patrice Evra racism scandal may have had an effect on the Uruguayan’s game. I am not condoning what he did in any way but for almost 2 months over winter, the media slammed Liverpool’s number 7 repeatedly. His name was everywhere. An 8 game ban followed and Liverpool had a tough time finding the back of the net without their most attack-minded player. With the FA branding his actions as “damaging to English football throughout the world”, the former Ajax frontman must have felt enormous guilt and embarrassment when returning from his ban and receiving a choir of boo’s wherever he went.
The poor results that Liverpool had obtained in the league during their 8 game run without their number 7, had increased the pressure on Suarez when he returned. Everyone was keeping a watchful eye on the Uruguayan when Tottenham came to Anfield in Suarez’ first game back, hoping that the man who produces moments of magic, could rescue Liverpool’s dismal league season. 10 games later and Suarez has netted only 3 league goals. As Liverpool’s main attacking threat, his goal record is simply not good enough. But is there too much pressure on Suarez? Can he even score the desired amount of goals with the players around him? Are the expectations on the striker too high?
Liverpool signed Luis Suarez for £22.8 million. A proven goal scorer in the Dutch Eredivsie and at International level, the striker had the credentials. The pressure that automatically comes with playing for a club like Liverpool may have been daunting but the Uruguayan settled in well during his first 6 months. This season has been a different story.
If Suarez is to improve his goal scoring record, he may need to realise that the pressure on him is down to the fact that he has the ability to be one of the world’s best. He needs to use the pressure and expectation that surrounds him, to his advantage and relish the fact that he is considered a key player at Anfield.
Next season may be a completely different story for Suarez. If the club can add players to the squad that would allow the Uruguayan to flourish, and the pressure be lifted from his shoulders, we could witness an almighty turnaround from a player who deserves success.
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