Suarez hits four in Norwich rout
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez scored four goals - including a superb 20-minute first-half hat-trick - to send the number crunchers into overdrive and Norwich back to East Anglia disconsolate.
The statistics piling up for the Uruguay international at Anfield are remarkable and surpassed only by his personal record against the Canaries as the 26-year-old became the first Premier League player to score three hat-tricks against the same team in the 5-1 victory.
Suarez now has 11 goals in five appearances against Norwich - and he did not score in his first game against them. In his last four appearances he is averaging a goal every 33 minutes.
Ian Rush was the club's all-time top scorer against Norwich with nine and it took him 21 matches. Suarez effortlessly breezed past him, having begun the day level with David Fairclough and the watching Kenny Dalglish.
The bigger picture shows Suarez's 50th league goal for the Reds - another brilliant effort to complete his hat-trick - came up in only his 85th game and in doing so took the outright lead as the Premier League's top scorer this season with 13 in nine matches.
Those statistics alone make the B#40,000,001 bid by Arsenal in the summer look even more ridiculous.
But impressive as the raw figures are they by no means do justice to the individual brilliance of the striker.
Each of his strikes had that special feeling about them, although the first and third stood out in the spectacular stakes.
After 15 minutes of frustration born out of mis-placed passes normal service was resumed at Anfield, where Liverpool have now scored 13 on their last three appearances.
John Ruddy's kick was headed forward by Joe Allen and when Leroy Fer missed his clearance that was the cue for Suarez to seize his chance, half-turning towards the Kop to lash a dipping inch-perfect shot over and across the Norwich goalkeeper from 40 yards.
It was reminiscent of the goal he scored at Carrow Road in April 2012 when he netted the first of his three hat-tricks against them.
His second, just before the half hour, was a more instinctive finish but no less clinical.
Philippe Coutinho swung over a left-wing corner won after centre-back Martin Skrtel's wonderful 60-yard crossfield pass and although Steven Gerrard tried to flick it on he succeeded only in ducking underneath.
But that gave Suarez the opening he needed and quick as a flash he hooked home left-footed.
The best came six minutes later when the helpless Fer could only look on as Suarez flicked the ball over his head a la Paul Gascoigne versus Scotland at Euro 96 before skipping past the midfielder to lash past Ruddy.
Norwich resorted to fouls with Bradley Johnson booked for a trip just as the striker looked set to break through the heart of the defence but the damage had already been done.
Strangely Norwich, buoyed by their weekend win over Crystal Palace, had created the first two scoring chances with Jonny Howson firing over and Wes Hoolahan's low strike saved by Simon Mignolet.
Suarez ended any fanciful hopes they had of recording a first Anfield victory since April 1994, which was memorable for being the last day of the all-standing Kop more than anything else.
Conjecture at the interval was whether Suarez could maintain his form and score a hat-trick in each half.
He showed he is merely magical and not miraculous with just one more goal in the 74th minute, although that too was a thing of beauty in its own right.
Gerrard was brought down by Howson 25 yards out and after Coutinho had failed with their previous effort from a similar position Suarez stepped up to curl a shot up and over the wall and into the net.
Johnson headed home Nathan Redmond's left-wing cross with seven minutes to go but it barely even registered with the travelling support never mind the rest of Anfield and Raheem Sterling ensured the night finished on a high by converting Suarez's cross.
This was the sort of performance Liverpool needed to put on on Sunday at Hull, the start of three matches in a week which they were expected to win.
Defeat there was a missed opportunity to consolidate second place and they dropped to fourth - which is where they remain as their Champions League-chasing rivals also won.
It is a reminder to the Reds just how small the margins are in the battle to regain their place among Europe's elite.
West Ham are next up at Anfield on Saturday. Suarez will already have them in his sights.