It wouldn’t be too far fetched to declare Luis Suarez the most hated footballer in the Premier League at the moment, and not because of what he said to Patrice Evra. Another no-win for Liverpool, a 1-1 draw at Sunderland, as Suarez scored their only goal, but another display of behavior from the Uruguayan you simply find harder and harder to overlook.
Brendan Rodgers knows he has one of the more talented forwards in the world in Suarez, who has now scored two of Liverpool’s three goals this season, but he also knows he needs to find a way and channel all that energy and talent at the right direction. Suarez is wiped out when Premier League referees are concerned, and needs something very special to happen to get a call go his way.
Fact is, he actually dives and cheats about half the time. The other half? Easy to dismiss, because he simply never ceases complaining or letting everyone hear about how he got the wrong end of the stick. I’m all for it when it came to the ludicrous handling of the Evra incident, but Suarez is simply shooting himself in the foot when it comes to the officials, costing himself and the club dearly for not changing his behavior.
When it comes to pure football, Suarez is doing well. Liverpool have tons of problems at the back and their midfield, which is obviously effecting their attacking ability, but maybe Rodgers is slowly figuring it out. Putting Jonjo Shelvey as the advanced midfielder seemed to give Liverpool a bit more edge to their game, in a fixture they usually struggle in. Shelvey needs to start thinking more pass, but Borini, Sterling and Suarez enjoyed having another face to join them near the box.
Fabio Borini isn’t a winger, so it’s either going to be going to the bench while waiting for a chance to replace Suarez, or simply Rodgers shuffling things around – Moving Suarez to the wing, where he feels comfortable as well, and giving Borini the main striker role. So far, he’s getting nothing out of the Italian player.
Midfield, as always, is the place to look at when searching for problems. Joe Allen isn’t a defensive midfielder, and it’s hard to say what Steven Gerrard is at this point of his career. Central midfield who just can’t influence the game as much and as well as he used to, but still undecided about whether to fully commit to just one thing – defensive midfielder, playmaker, attacking midfielder. The lack of success in finding a role for him is hurting the club dearly, who don’t know how to handle an aging legend.
Defense? Glen Johnson had to make one big mistake, this time on the left side, playing for Jose Enrique, while Martin Kelly did a good job on the right side, which should give him a bit more consideration for the starting job. Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel are good together, but it’s hard to play without a defensive midfielder, and a goalkeeper who has lost every shred of confidence, slowly trying to win it back.
There’s now about a week to take the good from this match (Shelvey, Suarez, Sterling) and turn it into something more. Manchester United are popping by for a visit, and after four matches and only two points, Brendan Rodgers needs to start winning, preferably against the club’s biggest rivals.