Remembering Luis Suárez's legendary stint at LiverpoolLuis Suárez's time at Liverpool is a very interesting representation of that club during the bulk of its Premier League tenure. While the Reds have had some periods of success in the last thirty years, there is no denying that they haven't been as dominant as before, which is something that plays a role in why the Uruguayan made such a memorable imprint during his time there.
As Suárez signed for Liverpool, he was joining a side in steady decline, and while is true he didn't manage to change the overall structure of the club (a single player could never do that), he had a massive impact. Furthermore, his last season in the Premier League with the Reds is something that deserves a lot of recognition because he almost led them to win a league title with a somewhat underwhelming squad.
Luis Suárez here playing for Uruguay
The contextIt's always important to remember how everything started and Luis Suárez's time at Liverpool is no different. The Uruguayan began by being a very prominent striker in Europe by proving his worth in the Eredivisie in the Netherlands, first with Groningen during the 2006-07 season, and later with Ajax from 2007 to 2011.
It was during his stint with the Amsterdam side that Suárez really came into his own and started to make waves within the European scene, with a lot of people viewing him as one of the most promising talents in Europe. Furthermore, his stocks only improved in the 2009-10 season when he scored a total of 49 goals in 48 games across all competitions for Ajax.
Not everything was perfect for Suárez as he began to pill up controversies at Ajax by biting the shoulder of PSV's Otman Bakkal during a 0-0 draw with that side on November 20, 2010. He was rightfully fined and suspended for a couple of matches, leading to his market value decreasing a bit, which is something that Liverpool managed to seize.
At the end of the day, Liverpool were willing to sanction a 26.5 million euro transfer for Suárez on January 31, 2011. He even got the number 7 shirt, which had been used by several Liverpool legends such as Kenny Dalglish (who was going to be his new manager), Kevin Keegan, and Peter Beardsley.
His time at LiverpoolLiverpool were not having a great season by the time they signed Suárez, with the club struggling in the middle of the table and failing to perform. And while the Uruguayan only scored four goals during those first six months at the club, it was enough to help them reach sixth place, with the former Ajax man praised for his energy and tenacity.
However, the 2011-12 season would be quite underwhelming for both Liverpool and the Uruguayan. Yes, they managed to win a League Cup but the overall feeling of the club at the time was one of crisis and disappointment. Suárez, on the other hand, had 17 goals in 39 games across all competitions, which was a far cry from his amazing output at Ajax.
It was during this season, specifically on October 15, 2011, when Liverpool drew 1-1 with Manchester United, that Suárez apparently racially abused United left-back Patrice Evra, which led to a lot of controversies. The player was fined and had an eight-match ban, which led to a lot of debates and discussions surrounding the player. It was ultimately a very disappointing season for the Uruguayan.
The 2012-13 season, however, was the turning point for Suárez as new manager Brendan Rodgers arrived and made him the central focus of the attack, which paid huge dividends. Rodgers' playing style was very attacking and that allowed the Uruguayan to have the freedom to perform at his best, scoring a total of 30 goals in 44 matches across all competitions.
Suárez cemented himself as one of the best strikers in the world due to his combination of goalscoring abilities, technique, and hard-working nature. However, the player was beginning to feel annoyed because how his family was always surrounded by paparazzi and journalists every time there was a controversy on the pitch, which is why he asked to leave.
The summer of 2013 was filled with reports of the Uruguayan leaving Liverpool, with the club and the player being very vocal against one another. At one point, it seemed that a 40 million euro transfer to Arsenal was going to happen but the move never fully materialized, and eventually Suárez decided to stay one more season at Anfield.
In hindsight, Suárez staying one more year at Liverpool was probably for the best because his 2013-14 season was arguably a decisive one for him. Not only did he lead the Reds to almost winning the Premier League, falling short in the last few matches against Manchester City, the eventual champions, but he also had a borderline legendary season.
Suárez scored 31 goals in 37 games across all competitions, being the cause of Liverpool winning most of their matches, and overall being the most decisive player. He was by far one of the best players in the league, most likely the best, and that was cemented when Barcelona came knocking the following summer, being willing to pay 82 million euros for him.