A win at Anfield shouldn’t be a thing of rarity for Liverpool, but yesterday’s 1-0 victory over QPR through Luis Suarez’ first goal for the club since October gave Kenny Dalglish his first home win since September 24, only their third win in eight home matches.
For Suarez, it was about ending the drought. He plays splendidly most days for the club, but luck hasn’t been his friend in recent months, at least not when putting on the red uniform. This was his first league goal for the club since October 1 in Goodison Park and his first at home since the 2-1 win over Wolves back in September. Way too long for one of the best forwards in the world.
Liverpool failed to win a league title in 2008-2009 not because of the problems they had with the giants of the Premier League. They beat Manchester United twice, Chelsea twice and drew twice with Arsenal. They lost only twice, away from home, to Tottenham and Middlesbrough. The inability to beat inferior clubs at home, like West Ham, Stoke City, Fulham and Manchester City cost them the title in a fantastic season.
This year seems like more of the same, just without the title run. Liverpool are undefeated at home, but have drawn five of their eight Anfield matches. Their away record is four wins and three losses, but the missed opportunities against Manchester United, City, Swansea, Norwich and Sunderland seem like the more painful point concessions.
And it comes down to Luis Suarez, again. Yes, there are problems with the midfield. Charlie Adam hasn’t made too many impressions since coming from Blackpool while Stewart Downing’s form on the wings has been lukewarm at best. No Steven Gerrard has its price, while Lucas’ injury proves to be another major setback. Giving Jordan Henderson the chance in the middle of the park instead of the flanks is a blessed decision by Dalglish.
But Suarez has become what Gerrard and Fernando Torres were for a few years. The one man that the club is completely depending on. He doesn’t have a true striker to play alongside him on most days, with usually Dirk Kuyt or Craig Bellamy sharing attacking duties with him. Suarez has it all, but he can’t bare the load of the offense on his own. His best doesn’t come when playing with the back at goal. That’s where Andrew Carroll has been sorely missed, and his huge price tag makes his early failure even more painful to watch for fans.
One of the goals Kenny Dalglish set for himself when he became manager last season was to change the complete reliance on one or two players. Liverpool put in a lot of money to strengthen the squad, in quality and depth. It’s time it shows, because Luis Suarez is a wonderful player, despite his diving (which actually makes refs not call legitimate fouls on him) and scoring drought. But he can’t be the only thing Liverpool rely on.