It has been a rather underachieving season for Liverpool, but a memorable one for Luis Suárez.
The Uruguayan international striker continued his assault on English Premier League goalkeepers with a sterling performance in the opening 16 minutes of Liverpool's 3-0 triumph over Queens Park Rangers on Sunday.
Suárez struck in the 10th and 16th minutes to power the Reds at Loftus Road in London.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, whose side finished 2012 of the schedule in ninth place, could not watch the Uruguayan's scintillating performance in person because of illness.
Suárez started his personal highlight reel by faking out defender Clint Hill before depositing the ball past goalkeeper Julio Cesar before he scored from close range off a Nedum Onouha cross.
He is tied with Swansea City's and Spaniard Michu and Newcastle United's Demba Ba for second in EPL goals behind Manchester United and Dutch striker Robin van Persie, who has 14.
"He's been brilliant for us since he came to the club — week in, week out he shows what a top player he is," Liverpool captain Steve Gerrard said. "These players have only got to play against him twice a year, we've got to train with him every day — he's a magician."
Defender Daniel Agger's headed closed out the scoring the scoring off a Gerrard cross in the 28th minute.
Suárez was denied a hat-trick early in the second half as Julio Cesar by tipping his shot off the crossbar.
"We played probably our best football of the season in the first half," Gerrard said. "QPR are having a tough time at the moment, and we knew if we started well we could quiet the crowd then play our football."
Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Carlos Tévez
Aguero, Argentinean international, and Silva, a Spanish National Team player, helped Manchester City stave off a potential disaster after Samir Nasri was red carded in the 44th minute in Manchester City's 4-3 win at Norwich City. The two players helped created Edin Dzeko's first two goals in the second and fifth minutes to grab a 2-0 advantage. Playing a man down, Aguero, who ran his tail off the entire game, scored to give the visitors a 3-1 advantage with a superb goal set up by Yaya Toure before Norwich made them sweat.
Dzeko, who started in the place of the Argentine Tévez, claimed he had a hat-trick. But a goal was ruled an own goal by Norwich's Mark Bunn in the 67th minute.
Four days after rescuing Manchester United with an 11th-hour comeback 4-3 win over Newcastle United on Wednesday, Chicharito found himself sitting on the bench. The Mexican striker did not get an opportunity to do what he does best: score goals. The English Premier League leaders were gifted an own goal in the ninth minute. Van Persie, who came on as a substitute, added a goal in injury time in a 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion. Perhaps United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was saving Hernández for Tuesday's New Year's Day encounter at Wigan Athletic.
“His effort and enthusiasm to play is absolutely fantastic,” Ferguson said. “He is a great example to anyone who wants to be a footballer really. Every training session is exactly the same. Every training session, he gives 100 percent. It’s refreshing when you get a young man with that attitude to play football.”
In his first start since returning from a hamstring injury suffered in mid-November, the Costa Rican international found the back of the net for Fulham in a 2-1 defeat to Swansea City Saturday. Fulham has won only once in its last dozen matches. Ruiz, who came on as a halftime substitute in the 1-1 draw with Southampton Wednesday, scored in the 56th minute. Dimitar Berbatov headed a cross by Kerim Frei off the crossbar. Ruiz was in the right place at the right time to slot home the rebound.
Michu, Pablo Hernández
Michu did not have an opportunity to add to his 13 goals in Swansea City's win over Fulham as an ankle injury forced him to sit out the match. Another Spaniard, Hernández set up the winners' second goal, as he intercepted a bad clearance and fed Jonathan de Guzman in the 52nd minute.
The Spaniard headed a corner kick into his net in the 48th minute to help Tottenham rally for a 2-1 comeback victory at Sunderland.
The Honduran international and his Celtic teammates ended 2012 on a losing note, falling at Hibernian, 1-0, to snap the team's five-game winning streak.
Perez, a Spaniard, started Kilmarnock off to its 2-2 draw at Motherwell with a 13th-minute goal. The visitors could not hold a 2-0 lead as Motherwell tallied twice within a two-minute span in the second half.
There has been tons of speculation about the future of the Colombian standout, but Atlético Madrid general manager Gil Marín said that no decision will be made until the summer. Falcao, whose scoring prowess has boosted his club and country sides, has been linked to potential transfers. With the winter transfer window opening Tuesday, La Liga club has no plans on moving him.
“He’s a great player," Marín told Spanish newspaper AS. "He is one of the best in the world. By signing him when we did it was very high risk. Thank God that it went well. People doubted him and the amount that we had paid. Our trust in him has been proven."
“What about his future? The commitment to him is that at the end of the season we will decide what is best for both parties and we will help him to decide. He has earned the right to decide.”
The veteran Argentine midfielder said that he wants to remain in Italy and become a coach when he retires. Zanetti has played for Inter in Serie A since 1995. "The club has given me a lot," he was quoted by the newspaper, Ole. "My life is now in Italy and when I stop playing I will coach at Inter. It is all settled, I was good for the club all these years and that will continue in a new role. I will remain in Milan with my family."
Arnold Peralta, Wilmer Crisanto
Peralta and Crisanto have been linked to a pair of Major League Soccer clubs, according to La Tribuna. The Honduras newspaper has Perlata joining Toronto FC and Crisanto being acquired by the Seattle Sounders. It said that Crisanto already has secured a passport to play for Seattle. La Tribuna adeed that the most likely Hondurans to join Major League Soccer clubs are Alexander Lopez, Luis Garrido and Johnny Colon Leveron.
Michael Lewis, who has covered international soccer for more than three decades, can be reached at SoccerWriter516@aol.com.