Luis Suarez is only three goals away from setting a new scoring record for a 38-game Premier League season – not bad considering he was still serving a ban for biting when it started.
The Uruguayan says he will not have personal milestones on his mind on Sunday, however, when leaders Liverpool host Manchester City in their most important domestic fixture for several years.
Victory for Liverpool on an emotional day for the club marking 25 years since the Hillsborough tragedy, while not necessarily being decisive, would put them within touching distance of a first English title since 1990.
“For myself, it is more important that Liverpool finish in a good position,” 29-goal Suarez, who is two shy of the joint record hauls of Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo, told the club’s website (www.liverpoolfc.com).
“I try in every game to score because I am a striker. I love to make goals, but for me if I could swap being top scorer or winning the Golden Boot for the team finishing in the top four, that would be more important.”
Liverpool are almost certain to finish in the top four and return to the Champions League next season, but with five games to go and the title in their own hands, no longer can they be considered outsiders to finish the season in first place.
Victory on Sunday, when the game will kick off seven minutes late to commemorate Hillsborough, would leave the Reds seven points clear of City with four games left, although City will still have two games in hand.
Chelsea, the third club vying for the title, also have to visit Anfield in what is likely to become a nerve-jangling finale to the Premier League season.
Liverpool have the momentum, however, having won nine league games on the spin and for Suarez it is just a matter of keeping going until the end.
“For some people, it’s a surprise because in the Premier League it is difficult to win nine games in a row,” said Suarez, who on Friday was named joint Premier league Player of the Month alongside skipper Steven Gerrard.
“With all the games, every week, we work to try and win. We work very hard. Our target was to finish in the top four and we’ve won our last few games.
“We also know Chelsea and City dropped some points, so we’re at the top of the league now and that’s amazing for us. Now we can’t stop because we have a really good chance.”
Manager Brendan Rodgers, who not surprisingly collected the Premier League manager of the month award, maintains that Champions League qualification remains the objective.
“That’s not secured yet,” he said, but former Liverpool title winner and manager Graeme Souness is in no doubt that they may never have a better opportunity.
“For me, it’s for Liverpool to lose,” he told Sky Sports.
“You’ve got your destiny in your own hands, you’ve got two games at home, against your two biggest rivals.
“It’s not just the three points you take off them, it’s the psychological damage you do to them.”