I’m not a huge believer in the old mantra ‘One-man team’, the very phrase is flawed in that in order for one player to have such an impact in a game, he does require the help of his team-mates, however much they may be struggling in comparison to his own Superman-esque displays. Arsenal adopted this label last season as Robin van Persie tore numerous defences to pieces but where was he without the help of, say, Alex Song? Man United, mid-nineties, relied heavily on the influence of Eric Cantona and then Roy Keane – both of them catalysts for strong periods of success but let’s not forget messrs Giggs, Schmeichel and Beckham during this time too.
In the current Premier League climate I may put the theory on hold for one Liverpool FC who have hardly shone this season but, without the help of one particular Uruguayan, may have been facing a much bleaker scenario than the one they find themselves in. I’m referring, of course, to Luis Suarez, current joint-top goal scorer in the Premier League (at the time of writing), whose trickery, predatory skills and tireless work have, at times, dragged Liverpool through the doldrums. He rescued a point against Chelsea in a tough examination last weekend, scored a super hat-trick in a 5-2 win at Norwich, netted a silky equaliser against Newcastle and rescued a point against Sunderland. His worth can be of no doubt, he has taken the mantra which Steven Gerrard once held (his influence still key but not as prominent as he ages) and has even prompted his manager Brendan Rodgers to refer to him as ‘our own Messi’. Quite a compliment.
Now, only recently, rumours have surfaced that Manchester money-pits City are interested in Suarez, with a bid potentially going through in January, Italian enigma Mario Balotelli being touted for the exit door (which would be a shame as he’s great entertainment on and off the field). These rumours have quickly been quashed by City boss Roberto Mancini and Reds chief Rodgers, one stating ‘We don’t need him’ and the other ‘We won’t sell him’. Suarez himself has insisted he is happy at Liverpool and who are we to argue? The proof is in the pudding, the man is enjoying a golden run of form.
You can’t, however, ignore rumours. Nobody could have envisaged Carlos Tevez going to Man City from Man Utd, or Fernando Torres leaving Liverpool for Chelsea, such is the unpredictable nature of the sport. And, let’s face it, Man City could offer him the earth – it would be a tempting prospect that any sane human being would struggle to turn down. Mancini denying it is surely a bluff – how could he not be interested in one of the Premier League’s finest strikers? His potential defection, as remote as it currently may seem, would certainly be an eyebrow-raiser but surely would leave a sour taste in the mouth for all not concerned with Man City.
The mere fact that they can buy who they want when January and July come around means that other clubs, in some cases, find it too difficult to turn down a lucrative deal and opt to line their coffers, in turn protecting the long-term future of their club instead of retaining star names. Prime example: Newcastle United – Andy Carroll. Where’s the fun in watching one team gobble up all the starlets? It’s far too one-sided!
Moreso though, the importance of Luis Suarez to Liverpool’s cause has currently never been greater. The impetus is on him to provide Liverpool a platform from which to build their season, they need him, particularly when you consider they have a severe shortage of strikers. If City come-a-knockin’ in January, Rodgers should keep to his word and the door should be kept firmly shut. If the red half of Merseyside is to stand any chance of success in the coming years, they need to keep, nurture and produce the best from the Uruguayan and not engineer a transfer at the peak of his game, a la Torres. They simply can’t get burnt again, not when his stock is so high.
For football’s sake, please City, don’t sign Luis Suarez – it just isn’t fair. And Liverpool, slap a massive ‘not for sale at any price’ tag on the man’s head. Then we can all get on with our lives safe in the knowledge that City, for now, don’t have the most glamorous forward line in English football.
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