Despite some good all-round performances, the day belonged to Suarez. The 24-year-old striker started on the bench, but within 16 minutes of coming on as a substitute, he glided around Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and hit a low-power shot towards goal. Andy Wilkinson’s attempt to prevent the ball from rolling into the net proved unsuccessful, leaving Suarez to celebrate a goal on his first appearance for the Reds since his £23m move from Ajax.
After the game it emerged that Suarez had not even trained with his teammates before the fixture, though having watched his 30 minute cameo, one would probably not have even realised this. Many have questioned Suarez’s suitability to the Premier League. Some point to the gulf in standard between English and Dutch football, claiming that scoring lots of goals in Holland does not necessarily mean a player will be successful in England. Indeed, one only has to look at Afonso Alves’ move to Middlesbrough some seasons ago to understand that the transition is not always easy. However, Suarez scored an incredible 49 goals for Ajax last season, a statistic which indicates that the World Cup star certainly has an eye for goal.
In addition to his goal, Suarez delighted the Anfield faithful with a lively performance. He looked menacing in and around the area, showing great awareness and getting into some good positions. Thanks to his versatility in attacking positions, the cunning Uruguayan forward has a knack of keeping defenders guessing what his next move will be. Not only can Suarez play effectively down the middle, but he is also capable of drifting in from wide positions and providing assistance for others. And when you bring his neat flicks and touches into the mix, Liverpool’s new signing looks like a player who can do real damage.
The game also saw another splendid performance from Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles who capped off a good display with yet another goal. Despite a relatively uninspiring start to his Liverpool career, Meireles has started to show his quality from the middle of the park and the summer signing has now scored three goals in four games. Of course, credit must go to former manager Roy Hodgson who persuaded Meireles to join the Merseyside club, but Hodgson is equally at fault for not getting the best out of the midfielder. Under the former Fulham boss, Meireles was often seen playing on the right – a position which he clearly found uncomfortable to play in. However, Dalglish has shifted the former Porto man back into the middle, allowing Meireles to shine.
With Liverpool making some eye-catching signings on transfer deadline day, the feel good factor returned to Anfield this week and helped the Reds to continue their winning run. Not only did Suarez’s goal seal victory for Dalglish’s side, but it also went some way into showing that life on Merseyside will go on, even without former Kop hero Torres.