27 Feb 2014

77% Shock: LFC hero reveals 'concerns' about 'out-of-sorts' Suarez. The Cisse effect...?

Prior to the Christmas period, Luis Suarez smashed-in eleven goals in six games for Liverpool, and every time he touched the ball, it seemed to end up in the back of the net. Things have changed over the last two months, though, and Liverpool legend Ray Houghton believes that this is a legitimate cause for concern.

Analysing Suarez's current form this week, Liverpool legend Ray Houghton praised the Uruguayan's 'outstanding work rate' and 'great' assist rate, but admitted he's worried about the current lack of regular goals. He observed:

"There are a few concerns about Luis Suarez after a consistently explosive season. He looked out of sorts being played out on the left side. He was snatching at things a bit when usually it’s so effortless"

Since December 26th, Suarez's goal-rate has plummeted:

25 Sep-26 Dec

* 19 goals in 13 games
* 1.4 goals per game
* One goal every 61 mins.

26 Dec-23 Feb

* 4 goals in 12 games
* 0.3 goals per game
* One goal every 265 mins (Every 2.9 games)

That's a massive 77% drop in Suarez's minutes-per-goal ratio, which is arguably significant enough to be a concern. However, with Daniel Sturridge in the team, it's clearly not a major concern.

Sturridge's return from injury has definitely had an impact on Suarez's goal rate, though. The striker returned to action on the 12th January, and since then, Suarez has scored only one goal in eight games. That, combined with Suarez being shunted out to the left, seems to be the main reason for the goal-slump, but for me, Rodgers is right to make that change.

If one of Sturridge or Suarez has to play out wide, it should be Suarez, as he is infinitely more effective in that role. The team has to come before the individual, and right now, Suarez is taking one for the team by playing out wide. Could this develop into a problem, though? Suarez loves being on the scoresheet, and he probably enjoys the game more when he's banging-in goals.

From his POV, he's been shunted out wide to accommodate someone else despite having an absolutely amazing goal rate in the first half of the season. As such, it's conceivable that, privately, Suarez may be upset about being removed from his favoured role.

Suarez always makes it clear that the team is more important than his individual achievements, but (IMO) it's only human nature to feel slighted in such circumstances (even subconsciously), and Suarez definitely doesn't need any further easy excuses to leave the club.

As a comparison, consider Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse at Newcastle. In the first half of the 2011-12 season, Ba scored 16 goals for the barcodes, but after Cisse signed (in January 2012), Alan Pardew shifted Ba out wide, and he didn't score again for the rest of the season. A year later, the Senegalese striker left the club.

Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself at Anfield.



  1. I think a good part is also he's just going through a spell at the moment where the ball just isn't going in or great saves are being made against him. In recent games he's hit the bar multiple times and been just wide/high on a number of occasions. It reminds me of recent seasons where his conversion rate was somewhere around 20% which is somewhat concerning but a long as Sturridge continues to score goals hopefully he'll be able to shoot his way through this slump and get right in time for the final push for a CL spot. The game at ManU is coming up and let us not forget the magic he was able to conjure there only a couple of years ago. Perhaps then he will regain his stronghold on the Golden Boot and seal Liverpool's place among the English elite!

  2. His hitting the bar etc is also a result of his new position though. He needs to shoot from outside the box more often because Sturridge is always ahead of him. I agree though that this is the way to play and it's the way he played at Ajax with Huntelaar. He'll score again though. Probably a hat trick against Man United...

  3. I think Suarez will just be happy with wins

  4. If Sturridge overtakes him in leading scorer table, then it would be interesting to see his reaction. I guess it would make him very unhappy and that might affect SAS patnership.

  5. If Suarez had kept scoring all our goals there would be "concern that no one else in the Liverpool forward line is contributing". You can't win with pundits, it's their job to think of something to write about and then make it sound plausible. The reality is that at the end of this season we will probably have the top two goal scorers in the league at LFC. They will also potentially break the club record for most goals scored by a striker pairing. Considering the phenomenal players we've had over the years that is no small thing. Suarez will score again soon and so long as one of he or Sturridge get one in each game left in the season they'll hit the 50 goal target. 50 goals in a season from your two front men is an amazing achievement no matter how you get there. Suarez will then be happy that his team is in the CL for next year and wouldn't be the slightest bit interested in leaving.

  6. Wow Suarez in the same sentence as Cisse and Demba Ba. Could it be because he is fatigue? The man has played more games done most of the team. Even if that's not a factor how much did those two contribute to their team compared to Suarez. He is not scoring but he is tied #1 in Assist! Ones Again WOW!!!

  7. Anyone in favour of a cheeky Krkic bid if we make the top 4, and the keep him as a back-up?

  8. To a certain extent it might help us to keep him away from the big vultures.More over it's the position that he is going to play in the world cup.The team looks much more balanced with the likes of Coutinho,Hendo all coming to the fore.Privately he might be happy about our prospects for next year's champion's league,rather than contemplating to carry the team all by himself

  9. Good! Like Michael Owen, Suarez tends to score in clusters. Let's not give the media the opportunity to label us a one-man team. Great to see the goals being shared. Henderson is the one that needs to score more goals.

  10. since the other "S" is coming back, this "S" is giving a different role n mission on field ! In term of that may affecting his personal game. Look at his assist in increasing rite ??

  11. Hmm, when did he sign that new contract?

  12. Iam not concerned about his so called drought, the guy has hit the woodwork twice, one of which would have been a goal of the season contender, the guy is too good to go on a really long barren spell

  13. Suarez has inhabited that role on the left with an ever growing maturity and selflessness and it's clearly no coincidence that during his little barren spell he has gone top (jointly) of the assists chart, with Liverpool scoring more freely than ever. He has occasionally had to sacrifice a goal scoring opportunity to set up someone who occupies a better position and his willingness to do so is highly encouraging. I do take the point about the possibility of him being a little upset about not being played more centrally, but I would hope that he is wise enough to see the bigger picture. Thankfully I have noticed no drop in effort or desire and nothing negative in his body language. His contribution is invaluable, in both a goal scoring sense and as creator. In short, I can't think of anybody more suited to fill that position. He has also been pretty unlucky not to bag a few more goals in recent weeks, denied by some world class saves and the bar (see the thunderbastard vs Arsenal). One of the benefits of having such a fluid and mobile attack is that it doesn't matter where the goals are coming from, and as a supporter this is great to see. It's a far cry from the first few months of the season when there was such great concern that we were totally over reliant on Suarez.

  14. A few weeks ago most rival fans were saying LS couldn't possibly maintain his scoring streak & when it dried up lfc would be in shit creek, well that's their hopes shattered :)

  15. Prob just saving himself for world cup unfortunately

  16. Torres
    V Persie

  17. If no one else was scoring this would be a problem, but its not, as other players are contributing nicely.
    5 assists in his last 6 league games also shows he is still contributing, and its clearly the fact that his role has changed, that he isn't scoring as much right now.

  18. Suarez wants to win games. I don't think that he cares if he scores or not, once we win
    See his reaction in a recent match v Fulham, Coutinho equalised and the players ran to Coutinho and start hugging and jumping about in front of the fans, while this was going on, Suarez ran into the net, got the ball and told all his team mates to go back to the halfway line
    His thoughts obviously immediately went to winning the match, and didn't want to waste a second
    He is a winner, through and through
    Joint top assists, 55 shots on target 20 more than closest rival
    I really believe that he has ingle handedly inpsired his team mates to believe that we can win the league
    If he scores 2 in next game he goes back to top of goals per league games in Europe

  19. Real strange situation of Suarez...

  20. Wouldn't worry.. He's still being effortlessly creative and was integral to the win against Arsenal, amomgst others. As it is, Sturridge has to be up top purely on a form basis.. No doubt there will be some change in emphasis before the end of the season.

  21. Twelve months later Ba left.

  22. I agree he wants to win games, but he's a striker so if he's not scoring he feels like he's not measuring up to his own self worth. He's getting a lot of assists though. I believe some of his drop-off is the natural by-product of teams determined to not let Suarez embarrass them so they mark him tighter...with more guys. If BR recognizes that, puts him out wide and teams still pay more attention to him, then that opens up a bigger hole for others. We wanted more scoring from the MF and wings...and we have it now. We are still scoring, but it's not just Suarez doing it. So we're better balanced. Not sure I see a problem from a team perspective. LS will catch fire again I'm sure because teams will have to pay more attention to the others now...which will free up Suarez more.

  23. Impossible to keep up that early season strike rate it's only natural that he should have a lean period. He is after all human not flippin superman

  24. I think we should start Suarez and Sturridge alternately on the wing depending on who we are playing. If we're playing someone who defends very deep, I think we're better off with Suarez in the middle. Also, if we're playing a team that counter-attacks a lot at full back (Arsenal, Southampton) then I think Sturridge out wide is the way to go.

    Generally though, I think the current configuration is correct.

  25. Suarez wants to win games, so as long as the team does that, he'll be fine. Especially since he's still contributing assists.

    Here's the only thing to take into consideration: LFC has been doling out incentive-heavy contracts. In essence, if you play well, you get paid well. If Suarez has some sort of incentive where he gets a bum when he hits 25, 30, 35 goals... and he's not scoring because he's played in a different position... well, then I could see him getting upset.

    Not saying it is the case. I have no knowledge of his contract's details; just conjecture on my part.

    But it's possible.

  26. I noticed Sturridge staying upfront at home(arsenal) and Suarez upfront away (Fulham). But they along with Sterling are swapping positions throughout the match though, therefore I am not sure..