Luis Suarez has been criticised and ridiculed by many for his various antics this season, but the Uruguayan star lit up Carrow Road with a terrific treble as Liverpool cruised to a memorable 3-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday afternoon. Kenny Dalglish could not hide his delight as the former Ajax forward sealed a special hat-trick with a sensational long-range strike and the Reds’ boss will be happy with his Man of the Match performance ahead of the upcoming FA Cup final.
The skilful 25-year-old has been scoring regularly since his move to Liverpool last January, but prior to the Norwich clash, Suarez had failed to score more than one goal in a single game for the Merseysiders. The Reds’ Number Seven has been frustrating with his wayward shooting at times this term, but those three splendid goals will give his fans great satisfaction and belief that he can be prolific in the Premier League.
Despite missing nine games through suspension and being regularly mocked for his poor shots-to-goals ratio, Suarez has now scored 20 goals in a Liverpool shirt so far this campaign, including 11 strikes in the top-flight. There are still question marks over whether he should be used as an out-and-out striker or pull the strings behind a target man, but the answer to that may have to wait until next season. For now, Dalglish will be hoping that the Uruguayan can take his form into the Wembley showdown this weekend.
Speaking to Liverpool’s official website about his hat-trick, Suarez said: “It was very special to get my first hat-trick for Liverpool but more important that the team won.” Meanwhile, skipper Steven Gerrard added: “He’s a top player, one of the best in the world on his day. Today was his day and his finishing was clinical. His movement is first class and we’re on the same wavelength. He’s a special player.”
The exciting South American may still get an opportunity to add to his tally of goals when Liverpool face Fulham in midweek, but the manager may decide to rest his key players when the Cottagers visit, just as he did more recently when the Reds played Blackburn. Both Gerrard and Suarez failed to make an appearance at Ewood Park before the FA Cup semi-final and that could be the case again this time around should Dalglish prioritise the Cup over the league.
Liverpool actually lost the reverse fixture at Craven Cottage back in December, in a game which saw tough-tackling midfielder Jay Spearing controversially sent off. And Fulham, who were thrashed 4-0 by the Reds’ local rivals Everton at the weekend, will take hope from the fact that Liverpool have won just five of their 17 Premier League games at Anfield this season. However, the Merseysiders will be looking to prepare for Wembley with a win and that determination to head into the FA Cup final with a victory could give Liverpool the edge.
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