12 March 2013
Luis Suarez – The First 50 Goals [Infographic]
• According to club statistician Ged Rea, only eight Liverpool players reached this total in fewer games. I did a quick chart of the big names when Torres hit the mark a few years back, but didn't know to include the fastest to 50: Albert Stubbins, who did it in 77 matches. Suarez was also outpaced by Roger Hunt, Torres, Rush, and Aldridge, but scored 50 goals faster than Owen, Fowler, and Dalglish, among others.
• Suarez has faced 19 clubs at least twice. He's only failed to score against one of those 19 – West Brom. Damned West Brom. Those two losses are going to haunt me for a while, no matter where Liverpool finish in the table.
• The longest Suarez went without scoring was six matches, between goals against Wigan on November 17 and Fulham on December 22 this season. Yes, his longest scoring drought – at least in matches where he played; not counting those during his lengthy suspension – came this season. And right before that six-match drought was his longest consecutive scoring streak, five matches, against Everton, Swansea (League Cup), Newcastle, Chelsea, and Wigan. He'd tie that mark with a goal against Southampton on Saturday.
• Suarez has scored in 21 of the 39 matches he's played this season. With 29 goals in all competitions, he's averaging a goal every 1.34 matches.
• Liverpool have earned 1.66 points per game since Suarez joined the club at the end of January – 114 matches: 54 wins, 27 draws, 33 losses. But when Suarez scores, Liverpool averages 2.15 points per game: 25 wins, nine draws, five losses.
• However, only seven of his goals were "game winners" – against Wolves, Stoke (FA Cup), QPR (twice), Norwich, Wigan, and Mansfield Town. 25 of his goals were scored when Liverpool were already ahead, 12 gave Liverpool the lead, 10 were equalizers, and only three were consolations.
• And there's a flip side to the points-per-game when Suarez scores statistic. Suarez hasn't featured in 23 of those 114 matches, and Liverpool's record in those games is 14W-4D-5L – an average of 2.00 points per game – although the caveat is that 12 of those games were cup matches, often against inferior opposition where Liverpool felt safe leaving him out. You may remember that he was suspended for almost all of those other absences.
More meaningfully, in the 52 matches Suarez has played but hasn't scored, Liverpool's record is 15W-14D-23L. Which is an average of 1.13 points per game. That's not good.
Given how the first half of the season went, that shouldn't be very surprising. Frightening, yes, but not surprising. All too often, Liverpool were desperately reliant on Suarez's goals. That seems to have eased with the additions of Sturridge and Coutinho and Liverpool's improvement as Rodgers' style becomes more familiar, but the last match Liverpool won without a goal from Suarez was the 3-2 win at West Ham. On December 9. When he was suspended.
Chances are, Suarez will continue to score goals. Probably not at the superlative rate we've seen this season, but he will produce. He is an exemplary footballer, one of the best in the league and the world. As we've incrementally seen as the season's gone on, Liverpool need to continue building a quality side around him.
If you want to see the full list of his goals, here's a Google Docs version of my spreadsheet.