Mindfart: See Ya Later, Alligator!

Hannibal

Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz is wheeled through Barcelona airport. His documentation shows he is rabies free, but for the safety of the immigration officials, he is restrained and muzzled. His dream has been finally been realised and at 28, the prime of his professional life, he is now playing for arguably the greatest team in the world. How he will fit on a pitch already filled with Messi and Neymar, is anyone’s guess; and the El Clasico against Real Madrid just got £75M more star studded.

No one can blame him for engineering his career to this point; it was always his dream; his final destination, and from the humblest of origins he has arrived. The manner in which he got here is surrounded in controversy and leaves him with little personal honour intact, but here he is nonetheless.

The surprising result of this whole situation is that Liverpool Football Club have actually come out of this very well indeed (I speak as a Liverpool fan). Let’s face it, he was always going to go to Spain at some point. No question about it. Every summer, the whole transfer period was going to be spent in turmoil, questioning, “Should I stay or should I go now?” Then one summer, at the last minute he would go (a la Torres) and leave us in the lurch. We would then go out and panic buy the leftovers from the transfer period for a hugely inflated price, (a la Andy Carroll).

He could and should have left last year, but we got 31 goals, within 2 points of the Premiership title, and most importantly a guaranteed Champions league spot out of him first.

His World Cup antics saved everybody all the hassle. If I didn’t know better, I’d think his agent ordered him to munch down on Giorgio Chiellini to make his position at Liverpool untenable and fast track the whole process of a £75M sale with all the accompanying agent’s fees and increased player salary.

Liverpool have managed to offload him on their terms, and as the pathological masticator attacked his victim while wearing the blue and white of Uruguay, they can cash in their nugget with their reputation untarnished. They now have the cash and the incentive of guaranteed Champions League to attract world class players to the squad, although Alexis Sanchez’s decision to move to Arsenal over Anfield shows they won’t get it all their own way. Nevertheless, an approach from Liverpool is vastly more attractive today than it was 12 months ago.

The big challenge for Liverpool now is to ensure the massive windfall is spent wisely and a team that was built around Suarez is reorganised to win games without a superstar centrepiece. There is going to be a lot of pressure on Sturridge, but he seems to thrive on being the ‘main man’. The problem is what happens when he goes through a barren spell (which he will) or gets injured or banned. We currently have no one to fill his boots. Sterling, Coutinho, and (apparently) this new Serbian Markovic are all great attacking footballers, but not prolific goal scorers. Lambert (who I absolutely love for being the most thoroughly decent human being playing professional football) is a good all round centre forward, but not a 30 goal a season player, despite being one of the best penalty takers around.

Liverpool have an opportunity to learn from the mistakes that Spurs made last year after the Bale sale. We must remember that despite our last fantastic season where we came oh so close, I can only credit Rodgers with two successful transfers since he was hired in June 2012: Sturridge (£12M) and Coutinho (£8M). Both fantastic players and both bought at a third of the price he could sell them for now. The jury is still out on Mignolet, but Allen, Aspas, Alberto, Assaidi, Borini, Cissokho, Ilori, Moses, Sakho, Sahin, Teixeira, Toure, Yesil?

All either complete flops, or bought and immediately loaned out (players for the future?), or old men brought in to cover glaring gaps, or hugely disappointing players considering the fanfare with which they were unveiled and money spent (£33M on Allen and Sakho alone). Thats a 1 in 8 success rate. He’s going to have to do a lot better this year without the Very Hungry Uruguayan Caterpillar to eat us out of mid table mediocrity in 2014-15.

Good bye Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz. A finer footballer, it’ll be hard to find, but he is also a deeply disturbed individual and an incredibly disruptive influence on a team. In the three and half years years he was employed by Liverpool he missed, or rather would have missed nearly an entire season through suspension.

In an age where Premiership teams are global brands, image is hugely important and Luis Suarez was a one man reputation wrecking ball. An embarrassment to himself, his team and his country.

He should be standing astride a pedestal as a shining example of how dreams can come true; of how hard work and talent can raise those with next to nothing to aspire to and achieve greatness, even if that is greatness is ultimately something as useless to the human race as kicking a ball into a net.

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7 Comments. Leave new

I wouldn’t be surprised if Rodgers is sacked next summer. I fear for Pool this season without Blanka. What a player!

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Maybe the best to pull on an LFC shirt ever. Most LFC fans today think that Billy Liddell runs a supermarket, but I think it’s fair to say that as you draw nearer to current teams throughout history, the players tend to get better in most areas (if you imagine them as Top Trumps cards:-)), and the game has become easier because of improvements in professionalism, finances, sports science and equipment. There will always be that magical quality category that Eusébio, Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Messi, Ronaldo (I’d say more the contemporary one, than the one with the comedy quiff) have common as much as each other.

Taking that into consideration, Chomper McChompee is in the top 5 players in the world right now. Liverpool will not be able to replace him, so they will need to increase the average quality of the whole squad and change their play-style to accommodate his absence. This will make or break Rodgers reputation as a manager. I think that Tom Henry is a shrewd businessman and even where he has made some faux pas, he knows it, and he’s been forced to make those choices to appease Liverpool fans who are sick and tired of American Businessmen owning their club. I think he has gained their trust now. Clearly he’s in this ultimately to make money and he doesn’t suffer fools lightly, but being a good businessman means hiring the right people in the first place, then trusting them to do the job you hired them to do. This may take a couple more years yet and the real Liverpool fans will give them the time they need. It is purely the glory hunters who will call for his head in the first season if it goes south.

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Oh and don’t worry I saw a behind the scenes training ground footage where Brendan was teaching Sterling the Spinning Bird Kick! (For those of you who have lost the cultural reference, that makes you a better person.)

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Jeremy Allen
July 18, 2014 6:22 AM

My friend the main worry at anfield is what to do about a below average defence (was it 50+ goals conceded last season?) and an aging stevie G. Sturridge will score and the others will chip in but with no 30 goal man it’s an uphill task I’m afraid.Probably anothe 10 years before you manage to be second best again in the premiership and this season you may well be coping with Saturday Wednesday Saturday football should you proceed in Europe.Not the same as one game a week from January like last season.
LS was always going to leave after this World Cup and yes I agree his appalling behaviour for his country hastened that and saved a little embarrassment on mersyside.That said more than once Brendon,lfc players past and present and lfc officials covered themselves in no glory in previous attempts to stand up for Luis.Remember the T shirts??? It was like the Muppets on Merseyside.
An incredible footballer who mostly was impossible to defend against (buts equally impossible to defend his actions).Once in the area with the ball you felt he would score everytime.An awesome finisher and in reality one of a handful of players that talented.But a loathsome little shit who saw no wrong in his actions and dragged his club and all around him through the mire.
Good riddance.
What price lfc versus Barca in the CL ?

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I agree with every word Jeremy. Except to say it was actually King Kenny who dragged LFC’s reputation through the mire, and who fell on his sword to keep Suarez. Now that is what I call loyalty! Of course the management had told him don’t worry you’ll be back in the fold in some capacity in 12-18 months, and so he is.

What I also find interesting is that Suarez apart, in most cases it was the performance of players that Mr Rodgers wanted rid of the most that made the biggest impact last year.

1) He wanted rid of Skrtel from day one. Say what you you will about his man handling in the box (!), the top scoring defender in the league and played every game he could. If you asked every striker in the league who they hate playing against I’d say Skrtel is pretty high on the list.
2) Flanagan, a player he literally couldn’t give away at the beginning of the season, was, I would argue, the most improved player in the squad in 2014-15.
3) Henderson; again BR tried every number in his little black book to shift the former black cat, but through hard work and determination he ends up a World Cup shoe in.
4) I think he had his doubts about Sterling too until after Christmas, he’d rather have played Coutinho and showed everybody what a great buy he made.

The only exception to this list would be Sturridge (who everybody else thought was going to under-perform, except BR and Daniel himself, the cocky little shit).

And finally, oh yes, Barca V LFC Champions League. If that happens, expect a lot of hub caps to go missing in the Merseyside area, after all, that will be the most expensive ticket in Anfield history! Liverpool’s recent European success (or lack thereof) will ensure they go into a group as a low seed and are likely to face a top team.

This website is turning into some bizarre cocktail of Cancer, Religion and Football. Let’s see where that takes us eh?:-)

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Frank Pitfield
July 18, 2014 2:10 PM

Glad to see you’re writing about something important for a change. And I totally agree.

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I,think Rodgers is a hugely under rated man manager who managed a second place finish last season from 7th the previous season on a tiny relatively mediocre squad. He got the best out of every single player that pulled on a shirt for him last season, dont forget Sturridge was up,there too for goals scored. Our defence still needs shoring up thats my only worry but I have faith in whats happening at Anfield Henry will give Rodgers the time to ensure a healthy amount of success.

YNWA

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