Luis Suarez will become Liverpool’s greatest ever striker if he fires them to the Premier League title, according to Anfield icon Steve McManaman.
Suarez’s hat-trick in Saturday’s 6-3 win at Cardiff City took his tally to 28 goals in 25 league games this season, equalling Robbie Fowler’s Premier League-era record for the club with eight matches remaining.
And McManaman claimed the Uruguay star can surpass legendary names such as Fowler, Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush and Roger Hunt in the pantheon of Liverpool greats if he scores the goals that ends their 24-year wait for the English title.
Liverpool go into Wednesday night’s home game with Sunderland four points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand and the form of Suarez will be crucial to their hopes of closing that gap.
He is also only six goals shy of Andy Cole and Alan Shearer’s record of 34 for a Premier League season, despite missing the opening five games of the campaign through suspension.
Speaking ahead of the Laureus World Sports Awards in Kuala Lumpur, McManaman said: “Suarez? Better than the ‘Growler’ [Fowler]. He’s going to break his record.
“He missed the first five games of the season and that suggests he will go down in Liverpool history.
“If he takes them to the league title, everybody will say he is the greatest centre-forward ever.
“Liverpool have been blessed with some centre-forwards haven’t they?
“You quickly forget because we live in the present, but the fact you are even talking about Suarez – after just a couple of years at the club – in the same breath as Robbie or Rushie or Kenny and whoever else shows how much he has learnt at Liverpool and how much he has improved.
“He had a great year last year and he has gone and bettered it despite playing fewer games."
Suarez tried to force through a move to Arsenal last summer but was ultimately convinced to stay and sign a new contract.
His form could spark renewed interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs but McManaman said: “I think he will stay anyway as he has just signed a new contract.
“Listen, it is important for superstars to play in the Champions League every week, that is the over-riding factor. You want to test yourself against the best players.
“Liverpool are on the right track. If they suddenly finished sixth there would be question marks but if they win the league or qualify for the Champions League, I don’t think there will be any assumption about whether he stays or goes.
“I think he will stay and it will be up to Liverpool to decide if they want to sell him rather than the other way round.”