I really hate the transfer window now I’m that little bit older and that little bit wiser. When I left primary school and really started to take football seriously I absolutely loved the transfer window, all the excitement and the possibility of fresh faces. As I entered secondary school, Rafa was just taking over at Anfield and a brilliant period of Liverpool history was about to follow. That summer is when I really caught the bug. Reading my paper like a proper grown up. Scanning the back pages for Liverpool’s latest transfer activity. That year, it was Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia who really caught the eye and excited me the most. I didn’t know anything about them, they just sounded like good players who could help Liverpool.
Despite the excitement, there was perhaps one piece of business that really should have warned me about the dangers of enjoying the transfer window – my first childhood hero, Michael Owen, was leaving for Real Madrid. “Why?” I thought. I was fairly distraught for a good portion of my Spanish holiday. There are a few similarities between that situation and the one Liverpool now find themselves in. Owen and Suarez could probably do a perfect impression of each other sulking on the bench and generally looking depressed. At least Owen didn’t badmouth the club as Suarez has done, the one that has battled to help the Uruguayan through numerous suspensions.
After his latest attempt to manoeuvre a way out of Liverpool, I’m pretty certain that Suarez has burned his last bridge with the Liverpool faithful. Admittedly, I was fairly shocked to see the Kop cheering him on during the Olympiakos friendly but Red fans are known to be as loyal as they come – however, this may be an indiscretion too far.
Here’s five reasons why Suarez should be booted out of Anfield immediately.
5.) This carnival has become boring
I’ve backed Luis to Montevideo and back but I’ve officially grown tired of defending him. To be honest I don’t think he deserved defence when he bit Ivanovic, the main annoyance among Liverpool’s faithful was the length of the ban and the inequality with Defoe’s. Certainly after his latest series of interviews with the Guardian and Marca newspapers, it is time for every Liverpool fan to put down their swords and walk away.
With Liverpool seemingly only having one option at the moment – that option being who they can sell to – which is Arsenal, I think Liverpool need to start cultivating some foreign options by offering Luis Suarez out for a defined sum of money. Selling to Arsenal will only increase the gap between the two teams, both in terms of quality and on a psychological level. Although Suarez is clearly a world class talent, he’s also a world class headache and if he was to leave tomorrow I don’t believe Liverpool would whittle and die during the 2013/14 season (more on this later). His footballing feet are no longer worth the baggage they bring and Liverpool’s name has had enough mud flung at it to last a decade.
Plus, on top of everything, I don’t think we can really trust a word that trickles from his mouth – he reckons he isn’t the type of player to move on every single season. Four teams in eight seasons. Just every two seasons then, eh?
Shift this farce out of town before it gets any worst.
That word isn’t something Liverpool Football Club is particularly good at acquiring. Recent losses have been made on Charlie Adam, Andy Carroll (sickening really) and Stewart Downing. Ok, the last guy hasn’t left for less than £20m yet but he will do at some point in the future, in this window or the next and he’s never proved to be worth that much, thus a loss. Luis Suarez represents a great way of mimicking the Borussia Dortmund model – buy cheap, sell expensively. If Liverpool can scoop up the sum they want (believed to be at least £50m) then they’ve officially made a profit of around £28m – not including wages. That’s another world class player to go alongside the world class player who needs to replace Suarez. If you reinvest profits wisely your business will grow and it’s the same thing with football squads. Take Dortmund, they bought Kagawa for 350,000 euros and sold him to Manchester United for £17m. They used that money to fund a move for German starlet Marco Reus and the rest is history. The German team reached the Champions League Final and became every single football fans’ second team in one season.
I’m not saying if Liverpool sold Suarez they’d become an instant force in the Premier League, I’m just saying this method is tried and tested and could be an option for FSG and Brendan Rodgers to consider. BR has already proven he can spot a talent with Sturridge, Coutinho and Aspas all proving instant hits. Just give him the profit and let him build.
3.) Improve the squad
Alternatively Rodgers could improve the squad in a big way rather than just buying one or two world class players as I mentioned above. It’s as clear day that Liverpool need a cover left back who can provide Enrique with adequate competition, at least two new centre backs with decent pace (to allow Rodgers to implement his high line which would cramp the play up in midfield and therefore allow Liverpool to regain possession much faster) and a decent defensive midfielder to keep Lucas on his toes. With those additions I think Liverpool would be well on the way to Champions League qualification, although it would be very difficult to acquire those four types of players with only a month of the transfer window to go – it’d be even harder to bed them all in and make them successful signings, we all know that some signings just don’t work out.
There are those who think Liverpool have themselves a decent starting XI. A defence of Mignolet, Johnson, Toure, Agger and Enrique is good. There is a fantastic shot-stopping and hungry goalkeeper, two pacey and offensive full backs and two experienced centre backs who read the game as well as anyone. Then there’s the midfield of Gerrard, Lucas and either Allen/Henderson/Coutinho. In this middle segment the Reds have leadership in Gerrard, tenacity and strength in Lucas and skill, vision and mobility in Allen, Henderson and Coutinho. Add this to the signing of Luis Alberto to cover one of the three midfielders and Liverpool have an abundance of passing players. Then there are the three attacking positions. These three slots have any number of possibilities. On the left Liverpool could play Coutinho, Assaidi (should he stay), Ibe, Aspas or Henderson. That side gives you raw pace, hard workers and visionary attackers. On the right Rodgers could select Downing, Sterling or Sturridge. This side would then give the Reds even more pace, strength and power in Sturridge and the cover of Downing. Then up the centre of the sttacking trio the Reds have Sturridge, Borini and Aspas. Each has great movement and a good deal of pace. Sturridge, again, gives you pace and power, along with the delicate movements of Borini and Aspas
Add to that the back up players who I haven’t mentioned which includes the likes of Kelly, Wisdom, Coates and Skrtel and Liverpool have a squad which, if added to properly with the additions I have mentioned above, could be competitive.
2.) Less greed, less predictability and more potency
Finally, some footballing points! See now this is what Suarez does to you. You talk 60% about off-field matters and only 40% about what actually happens on the green stuff. Anyway, it’s no secret that Liverpool have been pretty wasteful in front of goal during the last two seasons – although there was a marked improvement last season with more goals scored and more chances taken. Suarez has been central to this. Despite his brilliant goal return last year he could still have had more and it’s fairly scary to suggest that had he been as prolific as RVP last year he’d have probably bagged at least 40 goals. His finishing did improve last season but he still missed some bloody good chances. Two that spring straight to mind came against Reading. The first chance was actually world class play from the little striker, he chipped McCarthy and wheeled away ready to celebrate only for the ball to be cleared off the line at the last second. The negative here is that he could have easily slid the ball past the keeper’s left side. The second chance came in the last few minutes and saw McCarthy throw himself to his right to deny Suarez a volleyed goal from around 8 yards. Call it a once in a lifetime save or call it wasteful, the fact is he missed and Liverpool dropped two points in a game they absolutely dominated from start to finish. Now, to gain some context here. Suarez isn’t totally to blame for Liverpool’s misfiring in certain games. The Reds just don’t have enough predators in the team who can score a goal at any given time. Suarez simply sharpens this by making bad decisions.
During the 0-0 draw at home to West Ham United last season, Suarez actually took a shot from the by line. And I don’t mean he took a shot from the by line because he was stood next to the post. Luis had just got himself into the box and was actually a good 12 yards away. He had team-mates in much better positions but instead he chose the shot and West Ham defended bravely for the remaining time to gain a richly undeserved Anfield point. It’s this bad decision making and lack of ruthless instinct that Liverpool could do with shifting to another team – it costs you the same amount of points as it gains you.
A sale would also make Liverpool very unpredictable for the opposition. Last year teams simply attempted to stop Suarez, James Collins did this superbly for West Ham at Anfield and Stoke also managed it at Anfield by assaulting him until the final whistle, Robert Huth even stood on his chest. Without Suarez, Liverpool’s other players wouldn’t be so dependent on one man and would hopefully share the responsibility more and thus create new focal points for the team’s attack.
1.) Don’t let him ruin a great pre-season
So far in pre-season, Liverpool have played six games and won the lot. They’ve scored seventeen goals and conceded just the one – against Valarenga of Norway who are in the middle of their domestic season and therefore much further ahead of Liverpool in terms of match fitness and sharpness. They’ve also played some great football and the players seem to have taken Brendan’s philosophy to the next level. Up until Christmas last year there were some teething problems. Then came the switch from a “death by football” style to a very effective counter attacking style which saw Liverpool attain top four level form after the Christmas period. In pre-season so far we’ve seen the Reds assert themselves with possession and build attacks slowly by stretching opponents one way and the other. If a move breaks down then the players rally to get the ball back before the opponents complete a few passes and get themselves to safety. If the opposition does attain good possession of the ball then the midfield drops and the forwards take control of the ball chasing aspect of Brendan’s ideology. Hard work is a key characteristic that Rodgers looks for in a player and this is reflected in his signings – especially Aspas who has worked tirelessly upfront without the ball. Now, what we’ve also seen is Liverpool mixing their two 2012/13 styles together during the same game. If the opposition gains good possession and moulds a decent attack from it, Liverpool have switched to counter attacking mode and blitzed their opposition with the pace of Ibe, Sterling, Assaidi and Aspas.
Now I am a realist and I know that pre-season is all about fitness and sharpness. But I know that there are a lot of excited Liverpool fans out there who have made their feelings known through Twitter and various fanzines and blogs. And they are right to be excited because I truly believe Rodgers is a Liverpool manager now, not the ex-manager of Swansea but a proper Liverpool manager who can talk the talk and walk the walk. His signings are encouraging and his handling of Suarez has been exemplary. The team is playing good football and they all look ready to burst to defend the shirt. There’s also the continued excitement surrounding many of Liverpool’s youngest prospects. Sterling and Ibe have been outstanding during pre-season and Allen has flourished in the more advanced role that Rodgers has been telling us about all this time.
Roll on Stoke City. Under that Anfield sun.
If you liked this article or are simply a Liverpool fan, follow me on Twitter for more views and points surrounding Liverpool Football Club.