This is an article that I have been dreading to write and essentially, at times, wished I would never have to face the day where I’d have to describe or put into words the sheer ordeal of the aftermath of Luis Suarez’s fateful departure.
Liverpool fans worldwide idolized Luis Suarez despite his flaws, and there were many of them – his ill temper, racial allegations, biting tendency and his constant stream of match bans… Nevertheless we Liverpool fans as a cohort and collective bunch put those issues to the side and stood by our man through thick and thin.
I personally feel heartbroken by Luis Suarez’s departure, even though I saw this transfer coming a year or so ago. I knew a prolonged stay was too good to be true, which is why I never let myself get attached to the Uruguayan like my teenage self got attached to the forgotten legend that is Fernando Torres. I learnt my lesson, or at least I thought I had, but what I have learnt is that denial is never a good thing – deep down my love for Suarez will always remain, simply because he is a world class player and his talents command respect from all who share a love for the beautiful game. He transformed Liverpool from seventh place Europa League drop-outs to title challenging pythons all in the space of 12 months, and for that I can never give enough thanks.
Following the transfer, which cost Barcelona somewhere between £60-£75 million depending on your sources, Liverpool have replaced the irreplaceable by adding to the squad’s depth in all departments. We bulked up a leaky defence by signing Dejan Lovren, Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno. We added to the quality in midfield with the purchases of Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Lazar Markovic. We also attempted to replace the 30 odd goals that Suarez provided with the capture of Liverpool born Ricky Lambert and the enigma that is Mario Balotelli – a whole lot of signings, and for some peculiar reason it has yet to prove a winning formula, which leaves many in the footballing world questioning whether Liverpool truly were a one-man team and their triumphant season was merely a fluke.
I disagree, because without Suarez the squad still oozes quality. Players such as Jordan Henderson, Phillipe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge were integral in our title charge last season, quite arguably we lost the title due to Henderson’s ill-timed suspension. To the fans it was a team effort all along and, even without the glue that somewhat held it all together, we felt it would have still reached the same title chasing conclusion. Many of us accepted the fact that Suarez would be leaving Anfield, partially due to the fact that we assumed his replacement would be Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona, who instead followed his wife’s shopping bags to the Emirates. Once that move was out of the question, a lot of uncertainty arose and nobody quite knew how Liveprool would attempt to plunge the leaking sink.
This season we have been written off as title contenders; we had been before the season even begun. A narrow victory against Southampton didn’t exactly ooze the beautiful football we had become accustomed to, and this was followed up by a devastating defeat to title rivals Manchester City. By that point we all knew that we were missing something, and that something was our Uruguayan. However, shortly after we obliterated Spurs and began to show signs of producing the same football that broguht us so close to the Premier League summit last season; we were back.. Until we lost Joe Allen, Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge (thanks Woy) to injury. Consecutive losses against Aston Villa and West Ham broke the hearts of Liverpudlians. It was made all the worse seeing a fantastic performance against Everton dismantled via a rare gem of a goal from Phil Jagielka, which rescued a point for Everton. Luckily, another loss wasn’t on the cards, as Lallana and co. led Liverpool to a win against West Brom, albeit narrowly. It’s been a weird start to the season and many would agree that Liverpool are beginning to find their feet and rhythm. Nobody expected three loses at this stage; it simply isn’t good enough and Rodgers knows that more than most.
Though, amongst the doom and gloom, we should look forward and continue with optimism. The beautiful thing about Liverpool fans is that we never truly lose hope; we’ve seen the dark days under Roy Hodgson and we know that we will come out the other side. Despite an enthralling penalty shootout, late penalties in the Champions League and a bitter defeat in Switzerland, there is more to come from us and I know it. Sturridge and Balotelli have only played together once and the end result was a remarkable 3-0 victory at White Hart Lane.
Liverpool fans, rejoice. Yes, our defence is still appalling and Mignolet can’t catch to save his life, but at least the team is dedicated, cohesive and determined to turn things round. We have no choice but to place our faith and trust in those eleven selected against QPR and beyond. Stability, consistency and peace is what is needed, but most importantly – time. No one expects us to win the league this season and a top four finish would do. This team is still finding its soul since the old soul went off to the Nou Camp. Give it time, give Rodgers time and give our lads a reason to wear the shirt, and I promise, or at least hope, all the agony from the last few months will have been worth it.
Who knows, we might even beat Real Madrid while we’re at it.