It was Steven Gerrard who got to have the final say in a thrilling and vital win at Anfield for Liverpool, but make no mistake. Luis Suarez, with his scoring ability and everything good and bad that goes along with it, enhanced by the arrival of Philippe Coutinho, was the main reason for a third consecutive league victory.
Champions League hopes do look slightly better, but it’s still quite a long way to go. Liverpool finally beat a team ranked higher than them in the table, which says how far this team has come, in terms of confidence, style and their personnel, since the shaky start to the season. It’s going to take quite a few more wins if they are to overcome Arsenal and Everton in the chase after the fifth spot, not to mention trying to catch Chelsea and Tottenham, yet the recent wins and now their first win over Spurs in over three years makes it feel like they can do it.
It began with sublime Suarez finish and ended with Suarez drawing a foul in the penalty area, without even diving. He did add and exaggarate, but there was no doubt it was more of a clumsy challenge from Beonit Assou-Ekotto than Suarez fishing for a call. It also shows how far he and referees have come – Suarez couldn’t get a foul unless someone would be chopping his head off in the box for nearly a season. Now, refs are more likely to give him calls when he deserves them, although his instincts of making a mockery of the game once a match can’t be resisted.
And it’s interesting to see when Liverpool played their best football – when Jose Enrique felt confident enough to leave his position and join Coutinho on the left wing. Philippe Coutinho isn’t a natural winger, more of an attacking midfielder playing wide, but he seems comfortable on the left, moving to the middle when necessary. His understanding with Luis Suarez seems excellent; a little less with Daniel Sturridge. When Jose Enrique pushed forward, it made everyone look much better, including getting the opening goal.
Tottenham are probably a better side at the moment, with more dominant stretches during their 2-3 loss. Gareth Bale can’t be covered by a single player, but he suffers from the same illness as Luis Suarez does – diving whenever he can; that’s how Tottenham got their second goal. The only reason he’s less criticized for it it’s because his British, and not South American, who are automatically viewed as potential divers.
We’ve seen strange choices for player of the season over the years, especially when the Players’ award is voted for in January. Liverpool won’t win a league title, and possibly won’t win a berth for a European competition. But the right kind of signings have made all the work Luis Suarez did on his own earlier in the season worth it, and deserving of an award or two before this season is over.
Maybe they got away with one against Tottenham, but luck had to come into play at some point, after a couple of season without much of it, too many calls going against them and too many balls hitting the cross bar. This time a late penalty call and a cross bar is what won them the match.