Steve Clarke hails 'fantastic' Luis Suarez goal

Liverpool first-team coach Steve Clarke witnessed a "very special goal" when Luis Suarez scored his curling equaliser at Stoke on Wednesday.

Suarez cancelled out Kenwyne Jones' 44th-minute opener in the Carling Cup fourth round tie at the Britannia Stadium with a delightful effort nine minutes into the second half, the Uruguay international nutmegging Ryan Shotton before bending the ball around Potters goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen and into the far corner.

Clarke, in the Reds dugout, had one of the best seats in the house from which to take it in and could see from the moment the ball left Suarez's foot that it was a strike Sorensen would have no chance keeping out.

"We had a great angle from the bench because we were sitting right behind the flight of the ball," Clarke told www.liverpoolfc.tv.

"As soon as he did the nutmeg on the defender and curled it, you could tell it was always going to end up in the back of the net. Most of us were up celebrating.

"The actual shot, the way it curled away, made it impossible for the goalkeeper to get a touch on it. The little bit of skill was fantastic and the shot was even better."

Suarez went on to net a second for his team late on as Liverpool secured a 2-1 victory to book their place in the quarter-finals.

The Reds had failed to convert a number of chances in the first half as well as in their previous outing, Saturday's 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw with Norwich at Anfield, and Clarke believes only a fluke or a moment of brilliance was going to change their fortunes in front of goal.

"The way it's been recently for us, it was going to take either a very lucky goal or a very special goal to turn the luck for us, and it was a very special goal," Clarke added.

"If you go through a spell where the goals are not going in, all you can do in training is re-emphasise to the players to relax on the shot, take their time, pick their spot.

"A training situation and a match situation are totally different because you can't replicate the pressure of a match situation in training."

Having scored what turned out to be the winner in the 85th minute at the Britannia Stadium, Suarez limped off in the 88th and the 24-year-old's chances of playing in Saturday's league match at West Brom are unclear.

"Luis had a little knock," Clarke said. "We gave him a warm down and some massage on Thursday morning.

"We had three or four players who got knocks.

"Twenty-four hours after a game it's difficult to judge but we'll assess the squad, do training and decide who'll go to West Brom for the game."

PA

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