Liverpool tasted victory over a promoted side for the first time this season as Kenny Dalglish’s men clinched all three points with a 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers. The Reds, who had failed to beat both Norwich and Swansea at Anfield in recent months, had striker Luis Suarez to thank for the victory following the Uruguayan’s 47th minute header – his first Premier League goal since the beginning of October.
The 24-year-old forward, who is currently facing two Football Association charges, has been in the headlines for all the wrong reason of late, but Dalglish will have been relieved to see his star man end his goal drought. Suarez has now scored five league goals so far this campaign and is Liverpool’s top-scorer.
Scoring goals has been one of the Reds’ major problems this term. The Merseysiders have scored just 18 goals in 15 top-flight games this season – no other current top-half side has scored less. Liverpool have also only managed a paltry 10 goals in eight games at home so far this season. The Anfield side will undoubtedly need to find the net more often if they are to finish in the top-four come May. The last time a team ended up in a Champions League spot with less than 50 league goals was in the 2004-2005 season, when Everton finished fourth despite scoring just 45 goals.
But where are those goals going to come from? Suarez has been terrific for Liverpool since his arrival in January, and the South American striker has wowed crowds across Premier League grounds with his sublime pieces of skill, but his performance in front of goal has been average so far. The Reds’ may have to adapt their style of play in order to get the best out of Suarez – after all, this is a striker who scored an incredible 49 goals in just 48 games at Ajax in 2009-2010.
While some would argue that it is easier to score goals in the Dutch league, Suarez’s previous record suggests that he can be a prolific goalscorer in England if chances are created for him. In many games this season, the Uruguayan hot-shot has used his trickery and quick feet to create space for himself, but has failed to find the net regularly. Liverpool would perhaps be better off using an attacking midfielder tucked in behind Suarez to provide him with some much-needed support. This system worked wonders for the Reds in the 2008-2009 season, when Steven Gerrard played in behind Fernando Torres.
Given that Gerrard is injured, Dalglish may be tempted to splash some cash on a creative player in January. Other options could be to use Suarez in the ‘hole’ behind a different striker, or start playing a more direct style of football to suit Andy Carroll’s strengths. Which one of these options the manager will use remains to be seen, but it seems likely that Liverpool will have to tweak their system in order to start scoring more goals over the next five months.