ANFIELD legend Kevin Keegan has warned Liverpool’s rivals that Luis Suarez is still two years off being at the peak of his powers.
The striker’s match-winning double against Sunderland on Wednesday night took his season’s tally to 18 in all competitions but Keegan believes the very best is yet to come.
Suarez has already bettered his total of 17 from the last campaign and club great Keegan believes the 25-year-old has the potential to be even more potent in front of goal.
Keegan believes that as Suarez matures he will become a predatory forward and cites the improvements both he and Kenny Dalglish made when at a similar age.
The former two-time European Player of the Year also insists there is little doubt that Suarez is a worthy wearer of Liverpool’s illustrious number seven shirt.
“Suarez is still only 25, two years younger than when Kenny Dalglish joined the club,” said Keegan.
“And so, to put it in football parlance, Suarez has not reached his peak yet.
“Most players peak at 27 and what he will learn in the next three years is the art of goal-scoring and he will become more clinical.
“Both myself and Kenny left Liverpool as better goalscorers.”
Keegan is also an admirer of Suarez’s work rate and enthusiasm for the game.
The 61-year-old believes the Uruguayan would play with such vigour in whatever circumstance and says the Reds have been mighty fortunate he has remained injury free since joining the club in January 2011.
Keegan admits it is a worry that the Reds have been heavily reliant on his goals in recent times but hopes additions to the squad can ease that burden.
“To me, he looks like the sort of player who would play the same way on a park in West Derby Village as he does at Anfield,” said Keegan, who scored 100 times in 323 appearances for the club.
“What you see is what you get with Suarez. He puts in 100% effort everytime, is a player of total commitment and looks to have a good football brain on him.
“Luis has played three years of total football as well.
“As well as his club football, he has been involved in the Copa America, the World Cup and the Olympic Games. Thankfully he has escaped injury and the only time he has faced an extended spell on the sidelines has been when he was banned.
“If he had not been able to play as many games as he has done then just imagine where Liverpool would be.”
Keegan believes Suarez would be a worthy front-runner for major personal accolades at the end of the season but fears being found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra last season – and his reputation for diving – may work against him.
“For a lot of people in this country, he is known more for diving and racism,” said Keegan.
“It could be these two things which ultimately stop him from becoming the Footballer of the Year.”
Keegan also reserved praise for an emerging talent at Anfield - Raheem Sterling.
The Reds idol is more excited about the potential of the 18-year-old than he has been with any other youngster coming through the Liverpool Academy in years.
“Sterling is the best young player to come through the ranks for a long, long time,” he added.
“He is by no means the finished article but what I really like about him is that he seems a really quick learner.
“And this is another reason why the Daniel Sturridge signing could be good for Liverpool because Raheem can learn from the more experienced lads.”