Is Luis Suarez Learning From His Mistakes?

Luis Suarez's hat-trick strike at Norwich has been the main talking point of the forward's performance, but Alex Hess argues that the other aspects of his game are more encouraging...

Last Updated: 01/05/12 at 11:27 Post Comment

Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

Much has been made of Luis Suarez's hat-trick strike at Carrow Road on Saturday - and deservedly so - but while the Uruguayan's aptitude for such moments of visionary brilliance is nothing entirely new, his preceding two goals offer more insight into his footballing progression.

Both displayed something of the familiar in the buzzing movement and incessant harrying that Suarez generally imposes on defences, but both were also rather unusual in terms of the clinical, no-nonsense manner of their dispatching. Each time, when haring towards goal on the diagonal, the strikes were simple, unhesitant and brutally effective. Each time, too, there was a covering defender who Suarez opted against taking on.

As anyone who has watched Liverpool much this term will tell you, such ruthlessness represents a marked departure from the (non-)finishing that has come to characterise the Reds' season. Liverpool's wastefulness has been hitting levels of self-parody for months now, with last weekend's failure to convert any of their 28 attempts against Roy Hodgson's West Brom just one of many cases in point.

Suarez himself has best personified this failing, contriving all season to overcomplicate and squander the simplest of chances, often following far more demanding build-up play - his signature annoyance being the urge to beat every present defender before even considering a shot. The much-quoted statistic that he possesses the division's worst chance conversion rate is a frankly shameful one for a player of his class, but it is entirely reflective of his wildness in front of goal - statistics can deceive, but that one does not.

Saturday's first-half finishes were therefore noticeably un-Suarez-like. Indeed, their straightforwardness recalled his prod past Tim Howard at Wembley two weeks earlier. Perhaps, after months of finishing that's made Shola Ameobi seem like Gerd Müller, Liverpool's shortcomings are finally being addressed with tangible results.

Suarez's response to the home fans on Saturday was also a welcome one. Being the Canaries' foremost tormenter that afternoon, and given the pantomime villain role which he now fills - wilfully or not - in the collective psyche of opposition fans, he was subjected to the full catalogue of abuse from a surprisingly hostile East Anglian crowd. This time though, the customary back-arching tumbles and imaginary card-waving were largely declined in favour of persistent, intelligent off-the-ball running - a far more constructive response to the now-predictable goading he faces away from Anfield.

Not that he was a model of maturity - his fruitless complaining to officialdom sparked into life in patches, and he left Carrow Road with his arse not entirely unacquainted with its turf - but, by his own standards, a notable difference was nonetheless visible in demeanour as well as technique.

Of course, it's a lot easier to behave yourself when you've just scored two goals, and his unnecessarily attempted chip in the second half (not that one) was proof that his profligacy hasn't deserted him overnight. Ultimately, only time will tell if this recent trend is part of a long-term improvement or simply an anomaly, and it will need to be replicated on more significant, higher-pressure occasions than Saturday's to show genuine worth. The FA Cup final against Chelsea being the perfect place to start.

Caveats aside though, improvement is improvement, and the signs remain encouraging. Certainly, Cristiano Ronaldo has shown that complying with a steep learning curve upon embarking in England does little harm in the long run, and in terms of raw ability at this stage of their careers, the two are comparable. Sacrificing indulgence and petulance in favour of hard graft and unrelenting end product, however, is the point at which one became truly phenomenal. Perhaps, at last, Suarez will heed a similar lesson.

Alex Hess - follow him on Twitter.

Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

T

his is brilliant! All these years of moral ambiguity, grey areas of offence and context..now we have a simple, easy to follow guide to right and wrong. What did you do today? I kicked the face off a panda . Oh well, you didn't rape, kill anyone or abuse a minor, knock yourself champ.

megabrow (cufc)
Redknapp leaps to Mackay defence

I

wonder if he'd feel the same way if he wasn't a white, non-jewish heterosexual male. Because Mackay has basically insulted everyone else!

Jay_D
Redknapp leaps to Mackay defence

C

heers Harry. I was wondering if he'd murdered anyone

Ezy_Rider
Redknapp leaps to Mackay defence

Footer 365

England boss Roy Hodgson sets his sights on winning Euro 2016

Roy Hodgson has put England's awful World Cup display behind him and has set his sights on winning Euro 2016.

Malky Mackay apologises for offensive texts while Cardiff manager

Malky Mackay has issued an official apology for sending offensive text messages during his time as Cardiff manager.

Dutch Eredivisie: Ajax v PSV preview

Ajax hope to steal a march on title rivals PSV when the two sides clash at the Amsterdam ArenA on Sunday, live on Sky.

Mail Box

More Fan Mail For Football365...

'Just p*ss off with your righteous indignation will you. W*nkers.' There's a lot of anger going around for what should have been a sleepy Friday afternoon at F365 Towers...

Man United: One Game To Save Season

They have one match to convince decent players that they are worth joining - over to you, Louis. We also have mails on Malky Mackay, Mario Balotelli and Tim...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property