Three goals in two appearances after a 10-match ban is more than enough to make any footballer feel warm and fuzzy. Even Luis Suarez, to whom the characteristics of a teddy bear or a puppy are not generally ascribed.
However, the volatile and arguably sociopathic Liverpool striker says that he has returned to football a changed man.
Gone is the bad boy accused and sentenced for racially abusing Patrice Evra. Gone is the out of control wild man who’s hunger for victory led him to nibble on Branislav Ivanovic’s meaty bicep. Gone is the red mist that inspires his haranguing of referees. And gone is his insulting desire to bite the hand that feeds him by hotfooting it to Arsenal.
"I am aware that in recent matches that I played I've been calmer," Suarez told Uruguayan newspaper El Pais.
"I am very self-critical and I realised that playing well, with more tranquility, is helping me a lot. I realise and I prefer to continue and not be the same as before."
At the heart of Suarez’s self-professed transformation (which could well be challenged the moment Liverpool start losing or his goals dry up), is the support of his club skipper, Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard recently admitted his fear that El Pistolero would ditch the Reds, and his efforts to convince the striker to stay hit home.
"I do not know if he prayed but what he said is what he feels because he was talking to me all the time. Gerrard, for me, is a legend in Liverpool and a great team-mate that helped me a lot,” Suarez said of his club captain.
"His attitude was an extra boost for me to take the decision to stay in Liverpool; both he and the fans of Liverpool influenced much of that. I admire him for the great player he is worldwide. For me, he will always be a benchmark and at club level he is the best player I have played with in my career, as a person and as a footballer."
Meanwhile, if there is any doubt over Suarez’s commitment to a new and tranquil life, he says his critics need only look at his love for his young family.
Recently pictured with his two small children on the pitch at Anfield, Suarez says it is them that keep the red mists at bay when he takes to the pitch these days.
“They make me think hard and calm me. Nowadays I think a lot of them when I'm on the field," he said.