JASON McATEER fears that Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is showing signs of fatigue after a gruelling campaign.
The Reds’ 29-goal top scorer endured a frustrating afternoon in Sunday’s goalless draw with West Ham at Anfield.
Former Liverpool midfielder McAteer believes tiredness is bound to hamper the Uruguayan in his bid to maintain his high standards.
His campaign started early last summer when he played at the London Olympics and since then Suarez has clocked up 42 club appearances and been ever present for his country.
“I thought Luis looked leggy against West Ham,” said McAteer. “He played at the Olympics and recently was away in South America on international duty. This period of games is where you start to feel fatigue.
“People talk about how Lionel Messi plays every game and never gets tired but Suarez is a very different type of player.
“Messi only comes alive when the ball is around him. Then he lights up games and makes things happen.
“But when he hasn’t got the ball he walks around the pitch and looks disinterested at times. Luis is always busy, always running down the channels. He’s always on the move and is involved all the time.
“I just think a player who puts in that amount of energy is bound to run out of steam at some point and it looks like that is what’s happened.”
Sunday’s stalemate left Liverpool seventh in the Premier League, seven points adrift of fifth-placed Arsenal, who also have a game in hand.
McAteer was left to bemoan the Reds’ failure to produce sufficient quality in the final third to break down a stubborn rearguard effort from the Hammers.
“We had 65% possession and 20 attempts on goal but they seemed to be from long range,” he added.
“I can’t remember Liverpool carving out any clear cut opportunities. It was a frustrating performance.
“Liverpool tried to get it wide and got crosses into the box but with the height in West Ham’s side they were able to deal with that. Sometimes it takes a bit of cuteness to open up a defence.
“West Ham came with a game plan and played it out to perfection. They always had 10 players behind the ball.
“They were so deep and so defensive that everything was played in front of their backline. It was hard to find that ball threaded through as there was no space between their goalkeeper and defence.
“It was a frustrating afternoon for the likes of Suarez, Coutinho and Jordan Henderson as they couldn’t run in behind them.
“West Ham defended for their lives and worked tremendously hard so you have to give them credit for that.”