Liverpool Lore: "El Pistolero"; the mercurial Luis Suarez

  • The former Reds No. 7 left a complicated legacy at LFC.
  • He was still one of the most dynamic players to play at Anfield.
  • His moments of brilliance were countered by moments of madness.
Everton v Liverpool - Premier League
Everton v Liverpool - Premier League / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

We are back with our weekly edition of "Liverpool Lore". Last week we covered the iconic Kenny Dalglish. There are few players that can match what he meant to this great club.

However, today, we are taking a more modern look at a player that was clearly one of the most gifted to ever wear a Liverpool shirt. His skills and confidence were almost unrivaled in his time. Yet, his time at Anfield was mired by multiple controversies.

I am of course, talking about the one and only Luis Suarez. His run with Liverpool was not very long, but it was absolutely memorable.

Arrival to Liverpool on January 2011 transfer deadline day

January of 2011 was a very unique month for Liverpool Football Cub and more specifically, their attacking ranks.

The prolific Fernando Torres had done the unthinkable and made his shock move to league rivals, Chelsea. The Reds found themselves without a surefire goal scorer in their ranks. So, with the £50 million from selling Torres, they turned around and brought in a pair of forwards.

Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez were brought in from Newcastle United and Ajax respectively. Carroll was the big bruiser who was great in the air but lacked in other areas, whereas there was not much that Suarez could not do on a football pitch.

His £22.7 million arrival came with the expectation of stepping in and filling the Torres-sized void up top. He sure did and more.

Ironically, when he arrived to Merseyside from Ajax, he was in the midst of a seven-game suspension for biting a PSV player. I guess the club should not have been surprised how things turned out in the end? But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Hitting the ground running in his early Reds career

Suarez scored on his Liverpool debut as a substitute in their 2-0 victory over Stoke City. You could see from his first appearances that he brought a creative and cutting edge to the attack that nobody else could.

With Suarez leading the attack, the Reds surged from 12th to 6th in the table during his first half season with the club.

The Uruguayan parlayed this momentum into a strong 2011 Copa America tournament that summer before he returned to England for the 2011-12 season.

That season did not go well for most players associated with Liverpool as the Reds languished away in the midtable and Suarez could only muster up 11 Premier League goals.

However, Liverpool did win a trophy as they edged past Cardiff City to win the 2012 League Cup on penalties. Suarez was a Top 6 finisher in the 2011 Ballon d'Or voting highlighting his overall value.

He did however, miss time during this campaign as a result of an eight-match ban after he was accused of racially abusing Patrice Evra.

The club and Suarez maintained his innocence but the FA deemed it worthy enough of the stiff punishment.

Taking his game to the next level

The 2012-13 season would see El Pistolero leveling up as he scored a hat-trick against Norwich for the second consecutive season. The Canaries would be his personal punching bag throughout his Liverpool career.

In the spring, his hattrick against Wigan pushed him over the 20 league goal plateau which is a huge landmark for any forward.

Suarez joined Torres and Robbie Fowler as the only players to hit that milestone during the Premier League era. He would finish this season with 30 goals and 7 assists in all competitions. He was the Runner-Up to Gareth Bale for PFA Player of the Year.

During this season, Suarez bit yet another player. This time, it was Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic and it was not picked up on during the match, but the still images afterwards were damning. A ten-game suspension was handed down this time.

Ensuing transfer struggle and more goals

The summer of 2013, with the press swirling following yet another massive suspension for Suarez, he asked for a transfer away to shield his family from unwanted press.

With Liverpool missing the 2013-14 Champions League, there was some talk that this would be the final straw for Suarez to depart.

However, John Henry and Co. stood firm before Suarez seemingly had a change of heart and wanted to stay. With Suarez back in the fold and the additions of Kolo Toure, Luis Alberto, Mamadou Sakho and Iago Aspas to the side, things felt better.

Suarez would bag a hattrick in a big win over West Brom before he would decimate poor Norwich once again with a blistering four-goal performance.

3 of the 4 goals were absolutely out of this world. He was one of a few players at this time that could put on performances like that one.

In March of that season, Suarez recorded his 6th Premier League hattrick, a stunning number considering how short of time he had been in England at that point. His potent partnership with Daniel Sturridge saw the Reds soaring at the top of the table and dreaming of finally winning an elusive Premier League.

He became the first Reds player since Ian Rush in the eighties to score 30 league goals in a single season during the 2013-14 campaign.

He won the Golden Boot while Sturridge took second with 21 goals of his own. Unfortunately, the flowing attack was not enough to overcome the defensive woes and mental gaffes in the midfield as a particularly crushing 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace shredded any hopes of a title.

Suarez scored for Liverpool in the match as they raced to a 3-0 lead before capitulating in the final 10 minutes. 31 goals and 15 assists in 2013-14 meant Suarez did all he could in the title chase.

Liverpool departure and final legacy

At the 2014 World Cup, Suarez bit yet another player, this time it was the legendary defender Giorgio Chiellini. This being his third offence, on a global scale, meant a massive four-month ban for the Uruguayan.

This was just one too many controversies for Liverpool to withstand and they finally cashed in as he departed to Barcelona for almost £65 million.

At the peak of his powers Luis Suarez was capable of scoring any goal imaginable from anywhere on a football pitch. His Liverpool highlight reel is still something to behold and you have to wonder, if he could have stayed on the straight and narrow, how much damage he and the Reds could have done.

His technical dribbling, insane close control, lethal finishing from any angle, tremendous vision and an insatiable work ethic all meant he was a talisman in his short time here.

82 goals and 25 assists from 133 games as a Liverpool player does not tell the whole story. He was a complicated man sometimes with his actions.

What is not complicated is that he was one of the best forwards to ever play for Liverpool.