Luis Suarez isn’t everyone’s favourite player. Impromptu goalkeeping, the Patrice Evra incident and a baffling vendetta against woodwork comprise the newsworthy misadventures of a man equally distinguished by his managers’ favour and the public contempt. But whilst his unequivocal admirers might be restricted to the Kop and the carpentry trade, Fantasy managers can ill afford to be too picky with their heroes in a game that measures virtue purely in terms of points.
A stuttering start to the season can be excused in a team unsettled by a wearying saga of tactical and managerial revolutions on Merseyside, and if the optimism that attended Brendan Rodgers’ arrival has been somewhat subdued by Liverpool’s unflattering league position, strong performances against Sunderland and United in recent weeks suggest that the tide is turning.
In terms of shots on target and chances created over the last two weeks Liverpool are in the Champions League spots, and whilst new acquisition Joe Allen and youth team graduate Raheem Sterling have gelled seamlessly in Rogers’ favoured 4-3-3, the comparatively innocuous exploits of Fabio Borini only serve to cement Suarez’s role as the indispensable spearhead of the Liverpool attack.
Whilst Steven Fletcher, Dimitar Berbatov and Ricky Lambert have hogged the headlines and cast an understandable shade over Suarez’s recent performances, that darkness may provide a propitious advantage to those Fantasy managers armed with the sober and impartial light of OPTA stats. Indeed, Suarez has eclipsed his acclaimed competitors in several key areas, and whilst he shows no inclination to forfeit his post-hitting pre-eminence, his threat stats augur an imminent improvement of his already-respectable tally of two goals in five games.
Norwich’s combative home form could present a potential banana skin to Liverpool’s attacking aspirations next weekend, but their work-in-progress defence remains susceptible to breach and Suarez’s guile and energy will furnish a stern test – last season’s Carrow Road hat-trick, capped by a memorable 45-yard effort, stands testament to the Uruguayan’s capabilities. Back-to-back home games against a winless Stoke and an incontinent Reading then serve to complete a tempting trio of ties that should provide Rodgers’ resurgent Reds ample opportunity to jump start their campaign.
With the threat of rest and rotation now haunting the footsteps of the hitherto hegemonic Carlos Tevez and Robin Van Persie, Suarez’s comparative security becomes a conspicuous asset and, priced at 9.4 in the Fantasy Premier League and 9.6 in the Sky Sports game, canny investors may be set to reap rewards from Luis’ forthcoming weekends.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby