Liverpool have stuttered in recent weeks after a fantastic start to their Premier League campaign.
The Reds face a tricky trip to Manchester United in the Capital One Cup tonight.
The game is a big one involving two of English football’s biggest rivals. There is also a sub-plot to the fixture.
This clash could feature the return of controversial Liverpool striker Luis Suarez from his 10 game ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
By all accounts the Uruguayan forward has been doing everything possible to be as fit as possible for his return. In Brendan Rodgers’ words Suarez is ‘champing at the bit’ to get back into action for the Reds.
It may have been a rather unfortunate use of words from Rodgers in the circumstances, but it is clear that the striker is looking forward to getting back into action.
There is no getting away from it, wherever Luis Suarez has gone, trouble has followed him. He has been involved in controversial incidents at Ajax, with his national team and of course with the Reds. The 26-year-old just cannot seem to avoid trouble, most of it of his own making.
Unfortunately it seems to be a flaw in his character that at times he cannot control his actions. He acts before he thinks and it has led to him being vilified by opposition fans and the media. The Uruguayan has almost become like a pantomime villain, booed at every opportunity by opposition fans and wound-up by opposition players.
Take away all the trouble and controversy and you have a truly breath taking footballer. Suarez is one of the few world-class forward players left in the Premier League. Had he left for Real Madrid this summer, as speculated, the Premier League would have been weaker for the lack of his football talents.
Even his most ardent critics (I have been critical of the striker in the past) cannot deny that Suarez is one of the best and most exciting players in the English top-flight. The Premier League is sold around the world on the talents of players like Suarez, even with his obvious problems. Love him or hate him Suarez is sheer box office.
As I mentioned earlier Liverpool started their Premier League campaign in good fashion, winning their opening three games and sitting top of the league. Their last two top-flight outings have brought the Reds back-down-to earth somewhat.
Rodgers side have drawn at Swansea and suffered a surprise 1-0 home defeat to Southampton last time out. Some Liverpool fans may suggest that those results are typical of Liverpool in recent years.
The return of Suarez is a timely one. The Uruguayan hardly returns to a Liverpool side in crisis, but maybe his return will boost the morale in the Liverpool team and help the Reds recover from their minor blip in recent weeks.
A question currently being asked is where will Suarez play when he returns? Suarez has spent a large amount of his career at Liverpool playing as a central striker. However, it is unlikely that he will return in that position in the near future.
England striker Daniel Sturridge has made a sensational start to the Premier League campaign playing in that role, scoring four goals in five top-flight appearances so far this season. Sturridge has played as a wide-attacker before, but was definitely not as effective as he has been in the central role.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers would need his head examining if he even considered ousting Sturridge from the central role. The former-Chelsea striker is in the best goal scoring form of his career and a move could disrupt that form.
Rodgers is unlikely to change his formation, so Suarez will have to find a position elsewhere in the team. With Philippe Coutinho out of action, Suarez is likely to temporarily fill the number ten role behind Sturridge, if not then a wide role is likely for the mercurial former-Ajax star.
Despite claims to the contrary from some, I believe the Reds are a better team with Luis Suarez, than without him. Suarez may be volatile and controversial, but his talent is unquestionable. The Uruguayan is also a man for the big occasions, so it would not surprise me if he came back with a bang against United.
Luis Suarez is a vital player for Liverpool and the club showed that by shunning big money offers for the striker in the summer. No doubt if Liverpool is to be successful this season then the Uruguayan will most likely be at the heart of that success.
Will Luis Suarez mark his return to first team action with a goal tonight?
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