LIVERPOOL goalscoring legend Ian Rush has been happy to be proved wrong by Luis Suarez this season.
The Reds’ Uruguayan striker has plundered 29 goals in 40 appearances in a prolific campaign in front of goal.
Suarez notched 17 times for Liverpool last season but with eight games still to be played, the 26-year-old is on course to finish as the Premier League’s top scorer and set new personal milestones at Anfield.
Rush admits he did not believe Suarez was the type of player to be scoring as frequently as he has done over the last eight months but he has nevertheless been delighted with his form.
“At the beginning of the season, I would not have said Suarez was an out and out scorer,” Rush said. “Not in the same way say Robin Van Persie is or Michael Owen was when he was at Liverpool.
“I would have considered him as much a maker of goals as a goalscorer. But the number of goals he has scored this season has amazed me.”
Although Suarez leads the race for the Premier League’s Golden Boot he lies fourth in the European rankings.
Lionel Messi, with 42 goals, is racing towards his third European Golden Shoe trophy with Cristiano Ronaldo and FC Porto’s Jackson Martinez also ahead of Suarez.
Rush became the first British player to win the prize when his haul of 32 goals in the treble-winning season of 1983-84 made him Europe’s leading marksman.
Rush now believes Suarez has the ability to emulate that success but says he will need some good fortune, especially with Messi and Ronaldo around.
“To win the European Golden Boot, you have to get that bit of luck,” he said. “When I won it, Marco Van Basten was injured for about half a season in Holland. Obviously Lionel Messi and Ronaldo are on a different planet when it comes to the number of goals they score each season but it would be unlikely they’d be scoring as many in the Premier League.”
Rush expects Suarez to remain in the Premier League despite Liverpool heading towards another season without Champions League football.
“Everyone at the club wants a return to Champions League football, not just Luis Suarez,” he said. “He has been the best player all season for Liverpool and has shown loyalty because the club stuck by him. He will be there next year. The fans love him and he really appreciates the club.
“He can give us one more season because we are all desperate to get back in the Champions League.”
But to do so, Rush says the Reds must start to eliminate the frustrating slip-ups against sides they are expected to beat.
“I still feel there is a lot to play for this season because Liverpool need to try and finish in the top six,” he added. “It has been a real transitional period this season where the side start to look like they are in control but then fall over themselves.
“The games with West Brom and Aston Villa are prime examples of that and if we had won both of those games we would be six points better off and how much of a difference would that make to the league table?
“After 20 minutes of the game with West Brom, we could’ve been 3-0 up but we go and lose the game 2-0. So just when you think Liverpool have turned the corner they go backwards.
“When Liverpool have played the top teams they have played well and the result that really impressed me was the win over Spurs. Liverpool did not play as well as they can in that game but still won. That was a good sign because they had played well against Manchester City and Arsenal but only took two points from six.
“So it is against the other sides in the Premier League that Liverpool need to show improvements. Hopefully a couple of new players in the summer will help and these young lads who have played this season will be a year older and will have more experience.”