Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers fears Luis Suarez's reputation will mean referees mistreat him
Norwich 2 Liverpool 5
Monday 01 October 2012
The first league win of Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool tenure was delivered by Luis Suarez. For all of Rodgers' tactical teaching, Suarez remains the difference-maker for Liverpool, scoring three and making one in a 5-2 evisceration of Norwich City.
Everything that is compelling about Suarez was on show on Saturday. The imagination about how to score a goal, the technical excellence to execute, those narrow turns that only he can do, the capacity to make full-time professional defenders look like rushed-in pub team substitutes.
Suarez set up a goal for Nuri Sahin and could have had even more himself. Rodgers knows that whatever he does at Liverpool over the next few seasons, Suarez will be at the heart of it.
"Luis is a complete footballer," said Rodgers. "He's not just a No 9 who stands up there and waits for the ball, and is a box player. He has more tactical understanding of the game, he is clever in his technique, he moves well in and around defenders."
There is a thrill to Suarez, but there is also a cost. He now has a reputation for going down easily, which is difficult to shake. Referees are too aware of this. Leon Barnett, in one ugly move, elbowed and tripped Suarez from behind in the box. It was the most obvious penalty of the season, but Mike Jones, the referee, did not give it.
"He's a special player, a wonderful player with great enthusiasm for the game," said Rodgers of the striker he believes to be more sinned against than sinning. "He doesn't get the rub of the green from officials, there's absolutely no question. Everyone today would have seen that. But we don't complain, we keep working and keep playing like that, and we'll be all right."
Rodgers admitted that there is now a "fear" that Suarez's reputation means he will never get the penalties he deserves. Other strikers go down more easily and are still rewarded with penalties. "I could tell you about three or four strikers who go down in the box with very minimal contact, and all of them have had penalties this year," said Rodgers.
"I can't worry too much about it. It's something that hopefully the referees, when they analyse and assess their own performance, they have a look at it."
Suarez, like any natural footballer, revels in having similarly gifted players around him. Former Real Madrid midfielder Sahin played in the hole, directing Liverpool's moves, setting up one for Suarez and scoring one himself. Rodgers said that his settling in was only a matter of time.
"He was a player that I felt would fit into our style and our way of working once he got up to speed," Rodgers said. "He's got those natural leadership qualities. He's a good guy. He can tactically participate in the game, so he understands how we're trying to work and how we're trying to play. He's a real good guy who has settled in well and hopefully he continues in the form that he's in."
Norwich: RUDDY 5/10; MARTIN 4; TURNER 4; BARNETT 3; GARRIDO 4; SNODGRASS 5; HOWSON 5; B JOHNSON 5; SURMAN 4; JACKSON 6; MORISON 6
Liverpool: REINA 5; G JOHNSON 7; AGGER 7; SKRTEL 6; WISDOM 6; ALLEN 7; GERRARD 7; SUSO 7; SAHIN 8; STERLING 7; SUAREZ 9
Goals. Norwich: Morison 61, Holt 87. Liverpool: Suarez 2, 38, 57, Sahin 47, Gerrard 68. Substitutions: Nor Holt 6 (Jackson, 45), Hoolahan 6 (Surman, 56), Tettey (Morison, 79). Liv Assaidi 6 (Suso, 59), Henderson 6 (Sahin, 66), Carragher (G Johnson, 74). Booked: Nor Barnett. Man of the match Suarez. Match rating 8/10. Poss: Nor 33%, Liv 67%. Attempts on target: Nor 4, Liv 6. Referee M Jones (Yorkshire) Attendance 26,831.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant