Fast turning from villain to hero, Luis Suarez is in danger of becoming likeable to even those outside of Liverpool.
His antics over the past couple of years – including the famous Ivanovic bite and the Patrice Evra race claim – seriously damaged his reputation amongst Premier League supporters, and he was fast becoming public enemy number one.
This season however has been nothing but a success story for the Uruguayan international.
On the field, there have been no theatrics, no savage attacks, no bickering at the opposition and a serious cut-back on the referee back-chat. Positively for Liverpool’s star man, he is being known for nothing more than a fabulous football player.
The 27-year-old – who once netted 49 goals in a single season for Ajax – looks on course for recording his personal best season as he currently tops the Premier League’s top goalscorer charts with 23 goals – seven ahead of teammate Daniel Sturridge.
Remarkably, his 23 goals and eight assists account to a goal contributed every 67 minutes – a phenomenal record not witnessed since Cristiano Ronaldo’s 42-goal season at Manchester United in 2007/08.
Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s home match with Swansea City, Luis Suarez said of his season:
“Everyone knows I had some difficult times last summer."
“I think this has been the best season of my career so far. It’s my job to score goals and create goals, and help the team.”
The Uruguayan international continued, believing that the fans’ confidence in him help him to produce his best, whilst the added responsibility has aided him to mature into a Liverpool role model for the youth stars:
“Stepping on to the pitch knowing I have the confidence of the supporters means everything to me as a player. They help me to give my best."
“When I was a kid I listened to the big players. Now I’m a big player in a big team other players come to speak to me. It’s a positive for me. I need to be an example.”
image: © Vincent Teeuwen