Luis Suarez: Why Liverpool Have To Sell Him & Build A Top 4 Squad With The Cash...
With the influx of Qataris and Arabs, you can’t help but warily feel romance in football is counting its last breaths. Loyalty appears to stand for very little in modern football: it is a gold mine for the sugar daddies of this planet, a playground of merciless merry-go-rounds, slippery slides and twisting tunnels.
When Luis Suarez joined Liverpool in January 2011, the idea was probably that by the summer of 2013, the club would be preparing for a season back in Europe’s elite, where Suarez, as a sensational individual, belongs. Obviously things haven’t panned out as planned and the Reds are readying themselves for a season minus any European football at all.
For this reason, you can’t really begrudge Luis Suarez a move away from Liverpool. There have been multiple moments of magic this season from Suarez that have left grown men aghast. His confident aura shows he has the knowledge that he is the best player in the Premier League and seems to be able to flaunt it at will. His twining dribbles argue that he could rival the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of running with the ball: the punishment Suarez takes with the ball at his feet is unmatched. His tauntingly audacious feet and technique on the ball is unrivalled in English football.
But the Uruguayan is his own worst enemy. He has been unfairly treated by the FA – a culmination of eighteen suspended games outstrips that of the punishments handed to English players, Jermain Defoe and John Terry for equal incidents. While Liverpool have no need to sell Suarez this summer, he will be teetering on the edge of his typical ‘peak years’ when he turns 27 next season.
The quandary for Liverpool’ hierarchy is if Suarez has his mind set on leaving. If Liverpool can replicate the January transfer window and bring in a couple of handy players with Suarez’s hefty transfer fee, then Liverpool may become a jigsaw of new, functional pieces. But that is probably better than having pieces that belong to a different jigsaw.
Suarez is the egotistical type on the field, the game runs through him; maybe not the extent of Ronaldo at Real Madrid or Gareth Bale at Tottenham but enough that the team suffers a little consequentially. The obvious example being the thumping of Newcastle United in the first of Suarez’ ten game ban: a 6-0 win and pleasing team performance called into question Suarez’s omnipotence. Liverpool would still have finished seventh without Suarez’s goals this season, much like Arsenal ended last season with three more points than in 2011-12 with Robin Van Persie at his imperious best.
The theory of Liverpool being a ‘one man team’ was thoroughly blown out of the water come the end of the season, however. Liverpool’s win percentage without Suarez (62%) is roughly the win percentage of runners up, Manchester City. Liverpool can play, and pose a considerable threat, without Luis Suarez.
If Suarez is intent on a move away from Anfield, they would be better off letting him go. His probable departure would present Liverpool with an opportunity, not a cause for panic. It is irrefutable that Suarez is an integral part of Liverpool on the pitch – he works hard, he is a team player but the team almost works too hard to accommodate him. His accolades almost cancel each other out. Most shots per game and second highest goal scorer in the Premier League last season, but with only 54% shot accuracy. Most successful dribbles, but was the most dispossessed player in the league.
Suarez’s reasons for wanting to leave are, I’d say, nonsensical. He brought all the negative media attention upon himself. Does he think there is no media in Madrid? Just look at the treatment of Jose Mourinho at the Bernaneu. Does he think there are no paparazzi in Munich? When even the infamous leader of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe is on your case, there is nowhere to hide. In truth, he wants, and deserves, Champions League football and trophies, another thread to the tapestry. Things he is not going to get at Liverpool at present. The Uruguayan’s pointy ears gained so much attention during his time in Holland that he even appeared in a Dutch advert for hearing aids, so it is no surprise his ears perked up to the interest of Real Madrid.
When it comes to replacing Luis Suarez at Anfield – how can you? He is a player that others want to play with and not against. A lure to attract players: come and play amongst the best in the world. Losing Suarez would mean losing that bait, especially with the lack of European football and household names within the Liverpool line up.
If football was an individual game, one versus one, there is no doubt that Suarez would be up there with the best in the world. But it is not. The January arrivals of Philippe Coutinho, whose potential could exceed Suarez at Anfield, and Daniel Sturridge - ten goals in 14 games - means Liverpool’s threat seems elevated when the pair of them are on the field. For all Suarez’s magic, one typically pinpoint Coutinho pass puts Liverpool on the front foot, equally true of Sturridge’s pace. Players pass like silly fashion crazes. Fernando Torres captured hearts at Anfield before he moved to Chelsea and Liverpool survived without him, the departure of Luis Suarez should, and probably will, be no different.
With a potential fee £40-45m being touted, Rodgers has the possibility of two or three Coutinho-esque signings to improve the overall XI and, despite Suarez’s dexterity, if the money is spent well, it is unlikely they will end up poorer.