Steven Gerrard reflected on yet another Luis Suarez master class against Southampton on Saturday by declaring: “He’s an absolute genius.”
In his 100th league appearance for the club, the No. 7 ended a five-game run without a goal by hitting the opener at St. Mary’s to take his overall tally to 24 for the season.
Suarez then turned provider after the break to tee up Raheem Sterling for the Reds’ crucial second before he won the late penalty that allowed Gerrard to fire home from 12 yards and secure an emphatic 3-0 win.
“It was a huge win for us, and Luis showed once again that he’s an absolute genius,” Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo. “People had been talking about him going five games without a goal, but his contribution to the team has never wavered.
“He is very unselfish. At times he’s been asked to play in a wider role, and he has shown what a great team player he is.
“Even when he wasn’t scoring, he was still terrorizing defenders and creating goals for us.
“It was a great way for him to celebrate 100 league games for the club. His record is phenomenal.
“All strikers go through spells where they don’t score, but he’s back on the score sheet now, and hopefully there’s plenty more to come from him.
“After the quality of the finish for the first goal, it was a great assist for Raheem, and then the way he earned the penalty just underlined the problems he caused them all game.”
The result moved Liverpool up to second in the Barclays Premier League standings.
However, Gerrard insists that while it’s great for fans to dream about what could be achieved this season, a sense of calm continues to prevail within the dressing room.
“It was nice to hear the fans singing about us being in the title race,” Gerrard said. “But for us as players, it’s just a case of staying calm and relaxed. We can’t get carried away.
“We are in the race. We have no other distractions, and we believe we can compete for it, but there is still a long way to go. We’ve got some really important and difficult games coming up, and we need to be focused.
“Everyone outside of the camp probably thought we would drop points at Southampton. Before the game, they will have looked at our fixtures and thought we would slip up in this one because it’s such a tough one.
“Southampton have taken points off some big teams at St. Mary’s this season, and our recent record against them wasn’t great.
“But there’s a great togetherness in this team. The spirit in the dressing room is something the manager has created.
“There is a lot of belief in the team. Games like the win at Southampton, coupled with what we’ve done at home recently to the likes of Everton and Arsenal, have fueled that belief.
“There are other big teams fighting for the title, and I wouldn’t say we are the favorites. In fact, we are the underdogs.
“But confidence is high, and with 10 games to go, we’re in a great position. We have given ourselves a chance.”
Photo via LiverpoolFC.com