Even a striker doesn’t have to score in order to have a great game, and it was quite an impressive performance from Luis Suarez in yet another entertaining match from Liverpool, leaving the goals to Martin Skrtel, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge.
Suarez had two incredible chances to not just improve his scoring tally but put himself on the list for goal of the season. The first came off a Steven Gerrard corner, with Suarez taking control of it outside the box and spinning to hit the ball in mid-air, rocketing it into the post. The second chance came in the second half, surprising everyone with a free kick from more than 30 meters out in a position that you usually cross from. The shot was saved, plucked away from the top corner.
But the 5-1 win was obviously about more than just Suarez or any one in particular. It was about Brendan Rodgers finding a way to work out playing with two strikers, two actual central midfielders and a weak defense crippled with injuries and still get some great football out of it. He has given up on his team being the one that has possession, something he was striving for last season and certain moments this year. With Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson in the lineup, holding the ball and exposing yourself to counter attacks makes no sense. With a super fast front that includes Suarez, Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Henderson at times, playing for counter attacks makes more than just a little sense.
Steven Gerrard is here for the set pieces, which brought Liverpool the first two goals with Martin Skrtel providing the finish, and staying close to the back four. He can’t cover distances like in the past or even like last season, so as long as he doesn’t drift too far from the defense, he can come in quite useful. Things will be different against teams coming to Anfield to park the bus and defend, but against Arsenal and previously Tottenham, who defend with a very high line as if they haven’t actually watched Liverpool matches previously this season, this 5 in the back, 5 in the front tactic works wonderfully.
Championship team? Still hard to see it. Five points from Arsenal, six points from Chelsea, four from Manchester City. Liverpool don’t have the depth and quality when it comes to comparisons between the teams, and especially City and Chelsea, even thought they both still have to pay visits to Anfield later on in the season. At some point they won’t be playing with their preferred lineup and changes will be made, and that is where Liverpool begin having problems in keeping up with the top sides.
But after a second huge win over a London team that sees itself as Championship or Champions League material, it’s hard to ignore the talent on this team and the great work Rodgers is doing, even though he does make mistakes from time to time. Luis Suarez is at the forefront of this wonderful run, especially at home (Liverpool winning 12 of the last 14 matches), and hopefully for the club, his great form which leads to historic wins will be enough to keep him on beyond this season.