Luis Suarez scores and makes teammates better

Posted by John Carr & Paul Carr

Despite missing the first five games of the Premier League season because of a suspension for biting Branislav Ivanovic, Luis Suarez leads the league with 17 goals this season. Having played only 11 league games, he's on pace to shatter the league record of 34 goals, which was accomplished by both Andy Cole (1993-94) and Alan Shearer (1994-95) in 42-game seasons. Here are five other notes on Suarez's recent run of form.

• His productivity may be a by-product of his activity, particularly in the penalty area. Over the past four seasons, Suarez leads the top four European leagues with 817 touches in the penalty area, 23 more than second-place Lionel Messi.

• Suarez doesn't just score, he also makes his teammates better. He has created the most scoring chances in the attacking penalty area of any player in the top four European leagues over the past four seasons. He's eight ahead of Franck Ribery and 12 ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo. In that same span, Suarez has completed the fourth-most passes in the penalty area of any player in those leagues.

• Suarez is a timely scorer. He has 14 go-ahead goals in the 80th minute or later since the beginning of last season, tied with Sergio Aguero for second most in the Premier League, behind only Robin van Persie’s 18 such goals.

• Suarez is also a threat from distance, one of the league's best long-range shooters. His 17 goals from 18 or more yards are the most in the Premier League since the beginning of the 2010-11 season, and he ranks only fifth in total shots from that distance during that time.

• But how sustainable is Suarez's scoring rate? He's scored on 25 percent of his shots this season, far above both his rate of 10 percent in his first three seasons with Liverpool and the league average of nine percent in that span. The reason isn't his average shot distance of 18.3 yards, which is only slightly below his previous Liverpool average of 18.7 yards. He'll be hard-pressed to continue putting 54 percent of his shots on target when his previous Liverpool average was 37 percent and the league average has been 31 percent.


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