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Following his second hat trick in a row at Carrow Road, there was plenty of praise for Luis Suarez. Though with the striker stepping up his game following a tough few weeks, one has to wonder if the league's referees are now capable of doing the same.
"He's a magician when he's on it and he certainly was today," was Steven Gerrard's praise for teammate Luis Suarez following a three goal day for the Uruguayan. "He could have easily have had five or six goals himself out there and should have had a penalty—that's how good his performance was."
And it truly was a world class performance from the at times controversial front man, a match to place alongside his showing against Manchester United shortly after arriving at the club or last season's similar dismantling of Norwich. Suarez 50th cap in the league for Liverpool also marked the first time one of the club's players has scored a hat trick in consecutive away fixtures against the same opponent.
That might be a bit of a mouthful as far as records go, but in any case it's clear that Suarez' day was deserving of praise, even if it might be a little early to start dreaming of him continuing his scoring form across the remainder of the season and establishing himself as a legitimate contender for the golden boot in the process. After all, part of what was remarkable about Saturday's showing was the fact that Suarez had done it before against Norwich.
"I remember his game last year and his goals were incredible," said Rodgers. "I've got to say, this was another master class in finishing. His first goal was terrific. We built it from behind and played through the lines. There was a nice combination on the edge of the box and he finished it well.
"His second one typifies him because 10 seconds earlier he missed probably his easiest chance. He doesn't get disappointed and immediately he gets back onto the ball and with an incredible piece of skill, he nutmegs the defender and finishes with the outside of his foot. It was a special day for him—and more importantly, a special day for the team."
Beyond the scoring, though, and beyond his constant terrorising of the Norwich backline too, he deserves real credit for putting up with another poor refereeing performance stoically, never once complaining about his frequent mistreatment—mistreatment that was almost never correctly punished—at the hands of that same backline.
Following Brendan Rodgers' complaints about substandard refereeing to head of officiating Mike Riley during the week, Suarez was not only Liverpool's man of the match but also the consummate professional, and nothing will illustrate his manager's point better than footage of him simply getting on with the game after being karate-chopped to the turf in the most blatant penalty non-call yet.
Whether the officials are either willing or able to step up their own games in response is of course an open question, but it's clear at least that Suarez has done his part and that what comes next—whether Liverpool continue to look to play with some semblance of sportsmanship or instead chose to go out of their way to make life difficult for those tasked with managing the games—is on the referees.