At the start of this season, it was impossible to know what it would hold for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
After all, he missed the first six games of the Reds’ domestic campaign as he completed his 10-match suspension, and prior to that there had been considerable speculation about his future all summer long.
But the Uruguayan marked his league comeback with a brace against Sunderland, and from that point on there was no looking back as he followed those two goals with 27 more in what is already a remarkable campaign.
And yet it is not his goals I want to talk about, it is a fact that has helped him score that many; because in researching another story about Suarez I came across a quite stunning fact.
Since returning to league action in that match against Sunderland, Suarez has played all but eight minutes of Liverpool’s top-flight campaign.
That is an outstanding figure regardless, but when you consider the physical nature of the Premier League, and the fact that so many of his fellow strikers have been side-lined on occasions this season – Sergio Aguero, Robin van Persie and his own teammate Daniel Sturridge to name just three – Suarez’s ever-presence is quite the thing.
In 28 league games this season, Suarez has started and finished 25 of them, and has left the field early for a total of eight minutes in the remaining three.
It is no surprise the Liverpool striker has suitors all across Europe, and yet the goals he scores and creates are just part of his appeal.
Yes he comes with history, but this season he has kept his head down and simply played the game – almost every available minute in fact. Who would not want a player who can be called on so regularly and who duly responds with impressive performance after impressive performance?
Liverpool have just five matches left this season, and if Suarez can continue his outstanding record he could just fire them to the title they have been waiting for for so long.
But whatever happens come season’s end, when you praise Suarez for his goals and endeavour, he should also be praised for almost always being there...almost every minute of every game.
You could even say, this season at least, that stat, along with all the others, has made him the perfect footballer.