Liverpool Football Club and manager Brendan Rodgers, specifically, could not have come in for higher praise given their exploits to finish second in the Premier League last season. For the first time in almost too many years to count, Liverpool had consistency on their side as they romped to noteworthy victories over Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Everton and bitter rivals Manchester United.
In fact, at the midpoint of the season, Liverpool had scored more first-half goals than Manchester United had goals in total. Without meaning to labour the point, The Reds managed to score more first half goals than any other team in the league, and only Manchester City performed marginally better in the opening 15 minutes of games over the course of the league season.
Of course, the bulk of these Liverpool goals bore the stamp of Luis Suarez’s genius – his forty-yard strike against Norwich being one of his standout efforts. His partnerships with both Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge showed that the little maestro is not quite as selfish as once thought.
But perhaps most impressive is Suarez’s movement both on and off the ball – he never stops running. As a result, his markers often lose concentration or tire of keeping on his shoulder, and he has a unique ability to capitalise on the slightest of half chances.
Of course June 24th changed everything; Suarez’s bite on Giorgio Chiellini has the striker suspended for nine internationals and for all football-related activity for a total of four months. This means that he would miss nearly half the season, and when a player earns a weekly wage in the region of £200 000 and is ineligible for action for that length of time due to his own foolishness, makes keeping him on one’s books so much harder to justify.
Having that said, he had signed a lengthy contract extension in December 2013, so the club still had a considerable bargaining chip in their negotiations that took Suarez to Barcelona for £75million. But it also meant that Barca could play on the idea that The Reds may no longer wish to be associated with a player with a nasty stigma attached, perhaps more so with Suarez himself feeling vilified by the British press over the last season or two.
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