Birthdate: 24 January 1987
Birthplace: Salto, Uruguay
Other clubs: Nacional (2003-06), Groningen (2006-07), Ajax (2007-11), Barcelona (2014-)
Bought from: Ajax
Signed for LFC: £22.8m, 31.01.2011
International debut: 08.02.2007 vs. Colombia
International caps: 79/41 (40/25 at LFC) - 24.06.2014
Liverpool debut: 02.02.2011
Last appearance: 11.05.2014
Debut goal: 02.02.2011
Last goal: 05.05.2014
Contract expiry: 16.07.2014
Win ratio: 50.38% W: 67 D: 30 L: 36
Games/goals ratio: 1.62
Honours: League Cup 2012
LFC league games/goals: 110 / 69
Total LFC games/goals: 133 / 82
In the final days of the January 2011 transfer-window the "Torres to Chelsea" story became much bigger than any Suarez story which was a pity because the new Anfield arrival had a goals-per-game ratio that was even better than the Spanish hitman. Luis Alberto Suarez Díaz was born in Salto, the second-largest populated city in Uruguay behind the capital, Montevideo. As a youngster he began his professional career with Nacional in Montevideo and helped them to win the Primera División in 2005/06 while still a teenager. Inevitably, as with many other promising players from South America, he came to the attention of a number of European clubs and this led to a move to Groningen in Holland when he was still only 19 years old. However, he only had one season in the Dutch Eredivisie at Groningen before big-city club Ajax signed him for seven and a half million euros in August 2007. Suarez's eighty-one goals from 110 League matches in three and a half seasons at Ajax was a rate that few strikers in world football could match. Inevitably, he was becoming a star on the international stage too, having made his full debut for Uruguay while still a Groningen player. The way Suarez performed in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa catapulted him to the watching world’s attention in a big way. He started all three group matches and scored the only goal of the final group match against Mexico that ensured Uruguay would top Group A. He then scored twice in a 3-0 victory over South Korea that led to a quarter-final with Ghana. Unfortunately, Suarez then received much negative publicity for a deliberate handball that led to a penalty (which was missed) and a red card that ruled him out of the World Cup semi-final with the Netherlands. After serving his one-match ban, he was recalled for the 3rd/4th place play-off in which Germany beat Uruguay by three goals to two.
Not long after he became one of only a handful of players to score a century of first-team goals for Ajax his club punished him with a two-match ban and a heavy fine after he had bitten PSV Eindhoven's Ottman Bakkal. The Dutch Football Association extended this ban to cover seven Eredivisie matches. This controversial incident led to much speculation that the Ajax captain's time in Holland was coming to an end. It did not, however, put off interest from several European clubs, all of whom realised that one piece of negativity regarding the player’s temperament did not change the fact that he had an outstanding goal-scoring record. Liverpool had scored only 31 times from their opening 24 League matches of the 2010/11 season. and obviously needed more firepower. Ajax were unimpressed by Liverpool’s initial offer but that offer was upped until it matched the selling club’s valuation of their star striker. Suarez had already proved that he could make the transition from one continent to another as a 19-year-old.
Luis was an instant hit at Anfield from the moment on his debut that he raced on to Dirk Kuyt's through ball, rounded Stoke 'keeper Begovic and carefully pushed the ball towards the empty Kop goal. Stoke defender Wilkinson's attempt to clear the ball only succeeded in diverting it onto a post, from where it rebounded into the net. So a little luck involved sure but definitely a Suarez goal and he had already shown in the brief time that he had been on the pitch that he was a confident and clever footballer. It was a shame that Suarez was not allowed to play in Europa League matches because his previous club Ajax were in the competition. Restricted to Premier League matches only, he scored four times in 13 games including a wonderful strike from an almost impossible angle at Sunderland. His performances in the convincing home win over Manchester United in March and in the away thrashing of Fulham in May were mesmeric. Suarez had a sensational Copa America in the summer of 2011. In six matches he had 16 shots at goal, eight on target and eight off target resulting in 4 goals, including the opening goal of the final against Paraguay. In comparison his strike partner Diego Forlan, eight years his senior, had 26 attempts at goal, 12 on and 14 off target scoring two goals, both in the final. Uruguay won the Copa America and Suarez was named the best player of the tournament.
The first full season in English football for Luis Suarez could hardly be described as trouble-free. Although his goals-per-game ratio was good (17 goals from 39 appearances) and his technical brilliance was there for all to see, he missed eight matches in the middle of the season after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during the Anfield League meeting in the middle of October. On being again available for selection and picked for the return fixture at Old Trafford, he was seen to avoid shaking Evra's hand and that inevitably led to more headlines and constant abuse from opposing supporters, not that it really affected the level of his performance. On some days he was practically unplayable but on others he seemed to spend a lot of time moaning and falling over. But the Good outweighed the Bad because of his close control and quick-footed brilliance, the sort of brilliance that enabled to score a number of stunning goals, especially the first of his League cup brace at Stoke in October and the third of his amazing hat-trick at Norwich in April. When Suarez returned to Melwood following Uruguay's elimination from the 2012 Olympic Games football tournament, he quickly signed a new long-term contract. Manager Brendan Rogers declared: "'I'm delighted that he has signed. I think he's one of the top strikers in world football." A hugely-productive club season for the Uruguayan (30 goals from 44 appearances in all competitions) was marred by the biting incident against Chelsea at Anfield in April. He was subsequently banned for ten matches, the last four fixtures of 2012/13 and the first six fixtures of 2013/14. Suarez became the first Liverpool player to score thirty goals in a season since Fernando Torres in 2007/08; and he moved on to fifty for the club when he netted in the home fixture against Tottenham Hotspur in March.
The Uruguayan magician wasted little time after he had served his ten-match ban. After missing the opening 5 Premier League matches he played in the remaining 33 and scored an astonishing 31 goals, a total that included hat-tricks against West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City and four against Norwich at Anfield. He would also score in the return fixture at Carrow Road in April to take his total against the East Anglian club to 12 in only 6 matches. His rehabilitation into the English game after two high-profile negative incidents was completed when he was named as the Football Writers' Player of the Year shortly after receiving a similar award from the Professional Footballers' Association. He ended the season with 82 Liverpool goals from 133 matches, scored 30 club goals for the second successive season. Suarez was involved in another high-profile biting incident during the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, as a result of which he was quickly banned by FIFA from playing football for four months. The ban also included nine international matches. The incident with Giorgio Chiellini occurred in Uruguay's final group match against Italy in Natal five days after two fine goals had ended England's interest in the competition in São Paulo. Two days before the World Cup Final in Rio Liverpool agreed a transfer fee with Spanish giants Barcelona, believed to be £75million. The inevitable had finally happened, but Liverpool will recover from losing such an influential player.