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5 talking points from Sunday's Premier League action

We discuss Luis Suarez’s 29th goal of the season, Everton reinvigorating their top-four challenge and more.

Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring against Tottenham.
Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring against Tottenham.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

1. What a difference 12 months makes for Luis Suarez

JUST UNDER A year ago, Luis Suarez was public enemy number one.

Even some Liverpool fans and ex-players urged the club to sell the Uruguayan star, after he infamously bit Branislav Ivanovic during an end-of-season clash with Chelsea.

Moreover, his behaviour in the summer, handing in a transfer request and attempting to orchestrate a move away from the club, only served to further alienate Liverpool’s long-suffering supporters.

However, the Uruguayan has since more than made up for these incidents.

The striker has inspired Liverpool to first place in the league with just a few matches remaining, and his goal today at Tottenham was his 29th of the season — beating Liverpool’s previous record holder, Robbie Fowler (28).

Suarez is now just three goals away from breaking the Premier League goalscoring record in a 38-game season and six away from the record in a 42-game season. Can he do it? You wouldn’t bet against him or Liverpool.

2. Big problems at Tottenham

As Manchester United have previously shown, the chasm between the Premier League’s best teams and those competing for a Europa League spot is a wide one.

Yet, with seven losses out of eight and just two goals scored against the top four, Tottenham, in their especially hapless way, have demonstrated more than anyone the vast superiority of the top four sides.

The team produced a toothless display against Liverpool today that — as Sky Sports’ Alan Smith pointed out — could have been predicted upon studying their lackadaisical body language prior to kick-off.

Yet, it’s hard not to suspect that Tottenham’s issues grow deeper than the 11 players who took to the field this afternoon.

Their decision-making at the top has been at best questionable — their sudden decision to sack Andre Villas-Boas and hire the inexperienced Tim Sherwood has hardly been vindicated, while the less said about the £100million plus they spent in the summer, the better.

3. Fulham look doomed

It doesn’t look good for Fulham following their loss to Everton today.

The London club have six games left to play and are currently rooted to the bottom of the table.

While they are only five points off safety, most of their rivals have at least one game in hand, so it will surely take a minor miracle for them to survive at this stage.

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The fact that Felix Magath felt the need to play a 17-year-old striker who had never started a game at senior level before gives an idea of their current lack of resources.

And though they played quite well today and were the better team for much of the first half, their opponents showed the type of clinical finishing in attack that Fulham have all too often lacked this season.

4. Everton show top-four mentality

Many critics would have expected Everton to have fallen away from top-four contention at this stage of the season, as was often the case under David Moyes.

But after today’s defeat of Fulham, they sit in a very promising position — four points behind fourth-placed Arsenal with a game in hand and the Gunners still to play.

In this afternoon’s game, they demonstrated the type of resolve that tends to set apart the big teams from the also rans.

Having been undoubtedly the inferior team in the first half and fortunate not to be a goal or two down, the Toffees belatedly came to life in the second period and claimed victory as a result.

Of course, they derived a substantial degree of inspiration from their substitutes, with Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith both scoring, while Aiden McGeady — pleasingly from an Irish perspective — also made a significant contribution after being introduced.

5. England seem to be in relatively good stead for the World Cup

As Gary Lineker pointed out on Twitter today, a number of English players appear to be peaking just in time for this summer’s World Cup.

Certainly, on the basis of current form, a front six of Lallana, Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling, Sturridge and Rooney appears to be a formidable one.

Their one weakness seems to be in defence though, with Gary Cahill the only available centre-back who has truly excelled this year.

Though Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones and Steven Caulker are all decent options, the temptation to bring John Terry out of retirement could grow increasingly strong as the tournament approaches.

Despite his own goal yesterday, the veteran defender has been excellent again this season, though with Terry by no means the most popular of players, Roy Hodgson would also have to consider the impact such a move would have on the dressing room before pressing ahead with it.

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Paul Fennessy

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