Wednesday 22 January 2020

Suarez wonder goal bodes well for Reds' cup bid

Even before the wonder-lob that decorated Luis Suarez's exhilarating hat-trick against Norwich, the Uruguayan had been experimenting with an audacious chipped finish.

He had already watched one attempt sail over John Ruddy's bar and a flustered Steven Gerrard was losing patience with his star striker for indulging in showboating finesse rather than clinical power. "I was just about to have a go at him before the goal," the Liverpool captain said. "It was on the tip of my tongue to give him a rollicking. But that then turned into a round of applause."

The emphatic flourish by Suarez, lofting an angled ball beyond a backtracking Ruddy from 55 yards out, was one to draw admiration from all corners of Carrow Road. Even the Norwich supporters, who had been subjecting the 25-year-old to a chorus of opprobrium throughout the game, were muffled for a moment. Suarez has spent the majority of this season as a pariah, but this was a goal to bring some measure of rehabilitation. One Liverpool fan even managed to leap on to the pitch to embrace him.

"It's something I like to try," Suarez said. "I saw the goalkeeper off his line. I was so happy." So, too, was every member of a Liverpool team galvanised by their £24m man's majestic performance before Saturday's FA Cup final against Chelsea.

It was just a pity that Kenny Dalglish, who has spoken up for Suarez with a defiance bordering on the myopic, could not have been a touch more charming in his post-match eulogy. Journalists had been under strict instructions not to ask him about the Norwich crowd's abusive chanting, and the Scot was clearly not in a garrulous mood.

Could Liverpool's date at Wembley, with their main target man in this form, yet be known as 'the Suarez final'? "Well, I'm no clairvoyant." Where would he rate such a consummate hat-trick? Was he impressed by his player's ability to ride a succession of rough tackles from the Norwich centre-halves and still score three? "Exactly. I couldn't have put it better myself." How Liverpool, who stayed in eighth place, must wish Suarez had weighed in with such sumptuous goals rather earlier in the campaign. For each one of his strikes here bore the hallmarks of the finest quality.

First, he latched on to a perfectly threaded ball from Gerrard to unleash a rising shot past Ruddy. Four minutes later, he slid a wonderful low shot into the net.

The third deserved endless replays. With glorious opportunism, Suarez spotted Ruddy away from his line and measured his chip to perfection. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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