Luis Suarez’s sparkling return to the Liverpool has the Anfield faithful thinking that the fallow years may just be drawing to a close. Of course they’ve bagged a few pots over the years, including the memorable evening in Istanbul when ‘top, top’ player Steven Gerard inspired a comeback to crown the club as Champions of Europe. Since a recently departed turned up just down the road to ‘knock Liverpool off their perch’ however, the domestic title has been nothing but a pipe dream. With Ferguson now departed to the bookshop, and new incumbent David Moyes struggling to keep the Old Trafford juggernaut on the straight and narrow, the Anfield renaissance, artfully constructed by Brendan Rodgers may just be maturing at the opportune moment.
When Liverpool fans heard news of the length of Suarez’s ban for trying to take a chunk out of the muscular arm of Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, the thought must have been in the back of many a mind that by the time the little Uruguayan returned to the fold, any chances of league glory may well have sailed over the horizon. Then, throughout the summer of discontent when so many clubs were linked with a move for the player, it seemed that his exile could turn out to be permanent. As we now lie however, nine games into the new season, Liverpool are sitting pretty in second place, just a couple of points behind leaders Arsenal. Not only has Suarez returned fit and firing, but also Daniel Sturridge who ploughed a lone – but successful - furrow awaiting the return of his strike partner, is also in fine form.
Successful striking partners are difficult to construct. Sometimes opposites work, such as the oft quoted ‘little and large’ partnerships of a big target man and a smaller mobile finisher. Emile Heskey and Michael Owen for England would be a good example. On other occasions it’s two similar players, such as Shearer and Sutton. Usually however, it’s two good players who think on the same wavelength and this is what seems to be the gel between Suarez and Sturridge.
Clearly, it’s far too early to say that Liverpool’s challenge will be sustained across a long season, and with rumbles already emanating from Real Madrid about a January chase for the Uruguayan, there’s a multitude of events that could rock the Anfield boat. For now however, many Liverpool fans can justifiably hang on to that dream.