In the latest Talking Reds column, Daniel Rhodes looks back at Liverpool's stunning performance against West Brom and introduces us to a condition known as 'grazed under-chin'.
Football has a habit of frustrating even the most Zen-like fan; dodgy penalty decisions, inconsistent disciplinary procedures, deflected own goals, simple missed chances and high ticket prices are just a few of the facets of a game that cause supporters to moan, groan, and then tweet about it whilst angrily shaking their fists at their intended target.
That all pales into insignificance, though, when you see a game like the one on Saturday between Liverpool and West Brom, one that included goals of "magisterial" (Ray Hudson) quality.
Four goals, from two players, all of which offered something different to the average fan watching on; the only thing missing was a van Basten-like volley from the edge of the area - although, if that floats your boat, then Kasami's effort against Crystal Palace, only eight days ago, should quench your thirst.
Let's start with a bit of context: in the three previous matches with W.B.A, stretching over the past three seasons, Liverpool had attempted 71 shots (@BassTunedToRed - Andrew Beasley) and scored, precisely, zero. Nil pois. Literally.
This was a duck-breaker of a goal if ever there was one; West Brom had a magical spell over us, and whatever we tried, failed to work.
Enter: The Anfield Sorcerer. It was as if Luis Suarez was aware of the spell and decided, almost 'single-headedly', to eradicate The Managerial Curse of Yesteryear.
It was an exhibition in goalscoring, the like of which, at best, is extrememly rare but more likely, especially when considering the second goal, is something many of us may never see again.
The first goal begins with a fizzed ball by Toure; trapped with the instep of Suarez's right foot, he immediately turns and accelarates past the first defender, his second touch gives him a quarter of a second to assess surroundings. He gives Olsson (one of the PL's best defenders this season) the eye. Olsson waits, poised to make a tackle. Suarez waits, posied to make a nutmeg. The tackle is attempted, the nutmeg is complete. The goalkeeper tries to set himse... It's a goal. Suarez hits it early; bottom corner. The drought was over, the dribble was complete, the goal was scored, the curse was broken.
The second goal was a jaw-dropper. Many fans were treated, after the match, for 'grazed under-chin', a new phenomenan/condition that occurs when footballers don't give supporters enough chance to close their mouths after performing a moment of footballing excellence, only for said jaw to drop even further.
Lucas to Sturridge to Suarez, who hits a reverse pass to Cissokho that is, if anything, slightly soft and forces the Liverpool full-back to stretch when reaching for it. Cissokho makes it to the ball, just ahead of the defender, and the increased effort results in a cross with extra 'purchase'.
You think the chance is gone, except, Suarez has lost his man again. He begins his leap outside the area and connects with a thunderous header from 17 yards out. The ball bends from left to right, looping over the stranded goalkeeper, into the top corner. The header, according to Match of the Day, was 'struck' at an astonishing 38 miles per hour (10mph faster than Usain Bolt). The commentator, sounding slightly annoyed by Suarez's afront to common footballing expectations, saw the replay and exclaimed:
"Look, he's on the edge of the box, for goodness sake!"
Before finishing with, "that... is pure genius." Indeed it was.
Suarez's third goal wasn't as dramatic or skillful as his other two - but it was still symptomatic of the whole game. Liverpool dominated a West Brom side that were unbeaten in five games, and boasted an excellent defensive record, especially on set pieces.
Gerrard's pinpoint delivery is useless if the Baggies' defence were able to pick up the threat from Liverpool's attacking players. Sometimes, however, credit has to go to forward players. Fractionally before the captain takes the free kick Suarez feigns, ever so slightly, away from goal, before pushing off his left foot and giving himself that extra half yard of space he needs to get on the end of the cross. Weirdly, if you watch the replay (or look at the top row of the Suarez: goal #3 image) Sturridge makes the same move, and looks likely to get on the end of Gerrard's delivery. Not only do they combine so well together, they also give us twice as many options to score; if one misses, the other will put it away.
The final goal was the delicious icing on top of, arguably, the tastiest collection of goals you will see in a single game this season. Sturridge collects the ball midway inside West Brom's half, before accelerating away from his marker.
Now, 95 per cent (maybe even more) of the players in the Premier League might see the keeper off his line, many of them may even think about chipping the goalie - but, only a select few can execute it well enough that it floats, agonisingly, over the head of the stranded keeper and into the back of the net.
Apparently, what we're seeing is only six or seven out of 10 for Sturridge, who said in an interview with the Liverpool Echo over the weekend, "I think, for my capacity as a footballer, I'd say seven out of 10. Probably even six - I'm being kind to myself saying a seven. I can do a lot better than I'm doing now."
I don't believe him. I'm not sure I can even imagine a 30 per cent improvement on the level we're currently seeing from the Premier League's top goal scorer.
I was going excuse myself a certain level of hyperbole when describing the goals - because of the known side-effects of grazed under-chin - but after reading Sturridge's quotes after the game, it should be actively encouraged. Because, if Sturridge is correct in his prediction that he can indeed improve by upto 30 per cent, as LFC fans, we're going to need to create some new adjectives to describe him, and his magical partner Luis.