A week after being accused of driving fans away from the game, today Luis Suarez instead finds himself the target of praise from the manager of Liverpool's upcoming opponents.
A week after David Moyes set out to demonise Luis Suarez ahead of the derby match between Everton and Liverpool, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has added his own two cents to the Suarez conversation. Only in contrast to his Evertonian counterpart, Pardew has chosen instead to do something that has become increasingly rare amongst Liverpool's opponents—he's chosen to praise him.
"He is an outstanding talent, there’s no doubt about that," said Pardew, steadfastly refusing to be drawn into the conversation about diving, simulation, and other things a proper English player would never do. "I think you have to see how many chances he creates, and how many things he does in a game. You could do a highlights show for him after every game."
It's certainly true that Suarez has been Liverpool's brightest performer under Brendan Rodgers, and with the Uruguayan striker netting six of Liverpool's twelve league goals to go along with a pair of assists this season he'll likely need to be on top form again for the Reds to have a chance of besting Newcastle on Sunday.
Still, despite that his ability to create and willingness to fight for his side are nigh on unimpeachable, it's more than a little strange to hear an opposition manager speak of Suarez without a boatload of caveats and disclaimers to go along with some slight, grudging praise.
In this case, much of Pardew's positive take concerning Suarez seems to stem from a desire to see Hatem Ben Arfa grow into a more consistent catalyst for Newcastle's attack, with the Newcastle manager seeing Suarez' drive and passion as the perfect template for the French attacking midfielder to base his game on.
"I’ve been talking to Hatem about trying to have the same impact that Luis is having," continued Pardew, "and he almost did on Sunday [versus West Brom]. You could have put him in that category."
Liverpool, in the meantime, will be hoping that Ben Arfa's play when Newcastle come to Anfield doesn't quite measure up to his man of the match performance against West Brom as the hosts look to close the three point gap and maybe even gain a toehold on the top half of the table.