Welcome Back Luis Suarez; Liverpool's Loveable Rogue


I love Luis Suarez. There, I said it. 

Luis Suarez the footballer, I mean. I’ve never met him in real life, and given his track record of offences ranging from the silly to the down-right abhorrent, I certainly couldn’t claim to love him in the direct personal sense of the word.  

But when he’s wearing the number seven shirt of Liverpool, and gliding through gauntlets of defenders, I can't help but love the way he plays football.

I love him in a similar way to how I once loved Pamela Anderson. It’s a highly irrational, unrequited kind of love. But with a deft touch or inadvertent stumble into John Terry's knee, Luis has the ability to make me feel all gooey inside - just as Pammy did courtesy of her stunning displays on Baywatch in the early ‘90s.

Granted, Suarez doesn't pull off a red shirt like Pamela pulled off that red swimsuit - and I'm almost certain that he's never saved the fictitious life of a drowning teenager - but my love for the sharp-toothed Uruguayan is both tangible and explainable. And, explain it is exactly what I am about to do... 

As 21st century football fans with access to the internet and a subscription to satelite TV, we watch a hell of a lot of live and edited action these days. This is no bad thing (albeit my wife might disagree.)

However, in spite of the modern saturation in coverage, how often do we come a cross a player who reminds us why we fell in love with The Beautiful Game in the first place?

I fell in love with football thanks to moments of individual genius from the likes of Diego Maradona and Paul Gascoigne. Moments of unpredictability, verve and imagination. Moments that temporarily made my heart skip a beat - and enduringly fuelled my desire to emulate them over the park.

Nowadays, in football's modern age of athleticism, nullification and deep lying midfield destroyers, such moments are fewer and further between than ever.

But last season, those exhilarating moments weren’t so rare for me. Because I feel that way almost every time I see my Luis play.

To observe the little man weaving his way in and out of impossible cul-de-sacs - to see him hassle and harry, jink and swerve - is to experience a footballing Cirque De Soleil; a masterpiece of movement that has you gasping with disbelief. 

Indeed, much of Suarez's artistry is quite unbelievable. He is a truly unique footballer, which, when you really think about it, cannot be said positively about many others. It can be said negatively, sure: Titus Bramble, for example, is a unique footballer. But those who possess God-given attributes so special that no other player can match them, are worth their weight in £50 notes. 

Suarez, like Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane, Gascoigne and Maradona, is unique in a good way. His moves are unprecedented.

After all, football, as we are so often reminded, is entertainment. By which logic Suarez, with his twists and turns, whole-hearted effort, comical celebrations and superb goalscoring record, is not only the most exciting player in the Premier League, but the best as well.

And yet, the common view during this summer past was one of contempt towards my beloved Luis. Many said that Liverpool should've pocketed the cash and washed their hands of this pesky troublemaker. 

Fortunately, Brendan Rodgers and Tom Werner didn't relent. They know that if you want to see the rainbow then you have to put up with the rain.

Sure, there's no escaping the fact that this is a marriage of convenience for the time being - and that Suarez will be out of Anfield quicker than you can say 'Hala Madrid' if the Reds do not finish in the Champions League places this term - but all the more reason to appreciate the time we do have him on these shores, and for Liverpool fans to enjoy one of the greatest talents ever to wear the famous red shirt. 

Suarez is the most complete forward the club has had since Kenny Dalglish was lacing up, and when all's said and done, once he sets foot back on the turf tonight, nobody can or will question his commitment to Liverpool winning football matches. 

Sure, £50 million might seem like a lot of money that they could've received in his stead. But in reality it's a Stewart Downing plus an Alberto Aquilani, or a Fabio Borini plus an Andy Carroll.

A Luis Suarez, on the other hand, is a priceless commodity, and I wouldn't sell him at any price. Not for all the oil in Arabia. 

Besides, just as a certain bunch of Scousers once so aptly put it:-  in Liverpool, money can't buy you love.

Click here to read more from Ben Cove.

Back Luis Suarez to score at Old Trafford tonight.