Luis Suarez just loves playing against Norwich, and the fact he took his amazing tally to 11 goals in four meetings with the Canaries last night is clear testimony to that. The Liverpool ace also has a penchant for scoring against Sunderland (7) and Wigan (6).
But whilst there is no questioning the ability and goalscoring talent of the brilliant Uruguayan whose four-goal haul against a hapless Norwich led Brendan Rodgers to say ‘everything about him is world class’, a close look at his goal record in the Premier League throws up some interesting stats.
Remarkably, 24 of his 51 goals in the top flight for Liverpool have come against Norwich, Sunderland and Wigan, whilst Suarez has only scored seven against the so-called ‘big boys’ – Arsenal (2), Chelsea (2), Manchester United (1), Manchester City (1) and Spurs (1).
It is also a fact that the new King of the Kop’s five Liverpool hat-tricks to date have come against Norwich (3), Wigan and West Brom. So whilst we might be accused of being ‘picky’, the disparity between his performances against the top teams and the lesser lights is there for all to see.
Having said all that, however, let us not be too distracted from yesterday evening’s single-handed demolition of a Norwich side that must be sick of the sight of him. Not least keeper John Ruddy who was again left red faced as the man who is now Uruguay’s record goalscorer went to town.
Suarez made a piece of Premier League history by becoming the first player to score three hat-tricks against the same team. And he did it in some style too with a magical array of goals, which left us breathless and had me wondering – has there even been a better hat-trick?
We would be interested to know your thoughts on that too as we take a quick look back at the four goal bonanza which already puts Suarez in poll position to retain the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month award he has won two months running. Given his liking for hat-tricks, you wouldn’t put it past him.
His first goal was a fantastic piece of opportunism as a wonderful volley from all of 40 yards was reminiscent of a strike at Carrow Road last season, which Ruddy will remember only too well. The second was a formality by his standards, whilst his third was a solo effort to die for.
It completed an astonishing hat-trick which whilst not ‘perfect’ in terms of a left foot, right foot, header combination, was one of the best you’ll ever see. To top it all he then produced a vintage free kick to take his Premier League tally to 51 (64 in total for the Reds).
Little wonder manager Rodgers was positively gushing after a 5-1 win which helped erase the bitter memories of the weekend defeat at Hull where Suarez, with strike partner Daniel Sturridge, produced arguably one of his worst performances in a Liverpool shirt.
No such scenario this time around, however, and the Reds boss said: “When you have a performer playing at that level it strikes fear into defenders. The quality of his finishing was phenomenal; everything about him is world class.”
Match of the Day pundit Robbie Fowler, a man who knows a thing or two about scoring for Liverpool, agreed with Rodgers before adding with a smile: “I love him as a player, but I am starting to dislike him because he makes ex-Liverpool strikers look very, very average!”
Think we’ll leave it there...for now!