Europe's top performers for January were whittled down to a three-man short list by our panel of experts -- Gab Marcotti, Sid Lowe, Raphael Honigstein, Andy Brassell, Michael Cox and John Brewin -- to Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Negredo.
But it was Suarez who topped the vote to be named the first ESPN FC Player of the Month in 2014.
- CHECK HERE for the results from your Player of the Month
Whether you agree with the winner or not, let us know on Facebook and Twitter -- using the hashtag #ESPNPOTM -- as well as in the comments section below.
LUIS SUAREZ (Liverpool)
A man who continues to divide opinion, Suarez drove Liverpool to five wins out of six games in January. The month began with two 2-0 wins, over Hull City, then Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup, and the Uruguayan was a key part of proceedings with a wonderful free-kick against the Tigers and only a brief cameo to see off the challenge of Oldham.
The 5-3 win over Stoke that followed was hardly a blueprint for defensive stability, but Suarez’s double strike took his personal tally to 22 goals in 16 games. Liverpool owner John Henry tweeted in reference to Suarez’s fine partnership with Daniel Sturridge:
What a dynamic duo!— John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) January 12, 2014
Going two goals down to Aston Villa, Liverpool rallied to claim a 2-2 draw, and Suarez was once again the instigator. Whether he dived or not for the penalty conceded by Brad Guzan is still up for debate, but the result was Steven Gerrard’s equaliser and a point saved for the Reds.
The FA Cup gave Suarez another chance to shine against AFC Bournemouth, and his fine cross set up Victor Moses for the opener before another cutting ball provided an assist for Sturridge to double the lead and seal the win.
The last game of the month brought about a Merseyside derby against Everton and a 4-0 scoreline with Suarez netting his 23rd goal of the season ensured the Uruguayan finished on a high. Another assist added to the list and, the first ESPN FC player of the month trophy stowed safely on his mantelpiece.