The last time Liverpool faced Norwich City in the Premier League; the Reds’ star forward Luis Suarez scored an impressive hat-trick to help his struggling side to their first win of the campaign under Brendan Rodgers. In the meeting before that, which took place in April 2012, the Uruguayan attacker struck from 45 yards to cap off a remarkable performance and seal a stunning treble of goals. Therefore, when Chris Hughton’s mid-table outfit visit Anfield this weekend, Suarez can expect to be a marked man.
To make it a hat-trick of hat-tricks against the same opposition would be a notable achievement – and if ever there was a chance of it happening, now would be the perfect time. Suarez is in superb form for Liverpool and has found the net on 15 occasions in the top-flight so far this term. Only Manchester United’s £24m summer signing Robin van Persie has scored more goals in the league this season.
Unfortunately for Rodgers and the Reds, the headlines prior to the upcoming clash against the Canaries focus largely on Suarez’s personality and attitude rather than his skill and talent. The former Ajax star arrived in England with a poor reputation given his actions at the 2010 World Cup. The infamous race row with Patrice Evra further dampened impressions. Since then, Suarez has been accused of cheating following his ‘handball’ goal at Mansfield in the FA Cup and a number of incidents involving simulation. His recent comments about diving do not appear to have helped his cause.
In an interview with Fox Sports Argentina earlier this week, Suarez said: “I was accused of falling inside the box in a match, and it’s true I did it at that time, because we were drawing against Stoke at home and we needed anything to win it.” Though he may not have realised it at the time, admitting to diving was undoubtedly going to create huge controversy back home. And it has.
Rodgers was particularly firm in his response to those comments. The former Swansea boss said: “From my perspective as the manager and leader of the club it was wrong to say what he said. It was not acceptable … it will be dealt with internally.” He added: “No one is bigger than the club. I have spoken with Luis and we move on. He knows how I feel. He totally understands where I am coming from as the manager of the club. This is a big club, bigger than anyone, and whatever people say goes around the world. He accepts that.”
Suarez is a controversial figure in English football and not a week seems to go by without the Liverpool star making headlines. Many supporters will be hoping that future headlines will be more about his form and flair rather than diving and other misdemeanours. A hat-trick of hat-tricks against Norwich this weekend would begin to turn that hope into reality.
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