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Friday 20 October 2017

Reds fans will forgive Suarez if he stays – Carragher

Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has defended Luis Suarez by saying that any player would be interested in joining Real Madrid.

Suarez, currently in Brazil on international duty with Uruguay, said last month he wanted a "change of environment", and that it would be "very difficult to say 'no' to Real Madrid". But Carragher, who retired last season after 737 games for Liverpool, claimed that Suarez was guilty of little more than naivety.

Last season Liverpool finished outside the Premier League top five for the fourth consecutive year, and Carragher denied that he was particularly shocked to hear that Suarez wanted to leave. "Not really, no, because if you were honest, Luis Suarez is playing in a team that finished seventh in the Premier League, but he is one of the best players in the world," he said.

"It would be pretty naive to think that no club would be interested in him. But if you read his quotes, they are not as controversial as has been made out."

Suarez is likely, but not certain, to join Real, and Carragher, who is to become Sky Sports' latest pundit, said that if he did not, the striker would be swiftly forgiven by the fans. "Of course they will (forgive him). He hasn't said anything derogatory about Liverpool, he has just said he'd be interested in going to Real Madrid.

"He made a couple of naive comments in Uruguay, but nothing so bad that can't be sorted out. He has obviously had his head turned, but which player wouldn't? It's not to say it will be an issue when the season starts."

Carragher has no doubt that if Suarez did stay at Anfield, he could easily repair his relationship with the club, and would continue to give his very best.

The last time Liverpool had a world-class striker, Fernando Torres, they sold him to Chelsea for £50m in January 2011. "Torres wasn't the same player for about 18 months and downed tools, and that's certainly what you don't want," said Carragher. "But with a character like Luis Suarez, I don't think that would be an issue, and if the club were to keep him, I'm sure he would be as committed as ever.

"He has shown that already, not only on a weekly basis, but on a daily basis in training, and I don't think Liverpool would ever have the problem that we had with Torres."

One Liverpool striker definitely on his way out of the club is Andy Carroll who hopes his club record move to West Ham United will help him cement a place in the England squad ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The 24-year-old forward, who signed for Liverpool on the same day as Suarez, finalised what is understood to have been a £15.5m deal, plus a further £2m in add-ons, from Liverpool after passing a medical.

Carroll, whose six-year deal could be extended by a further two, scored seven times in 24 league appearances while on loan at West Ham last season.

Much of his stay in east London was hampered by injuries, with a heel problem ruling him out of contention for England's end-of-season friendlies against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley and Brazil at the Maracana.

However, Carroll feels if all goes well for him at West Ham next season, he should be very much in Roy Hodgson's plans in the build up to the World Cup in Brazil.

"I just want to keep fit now, keep scoring goals and performing week in and week out for West Ham. If I do that here, play well and keep fit, then hopefully I will get in the England team," Carroll said.

The completion of the deal brings to an end a largely disappointing spell at Anfield, where he never made a major impact following a high-profile £35m deadline-day move from Newcastle in January 2011.

Carroll scored 11 times in 58 appearances for the club, but when Kenny Dalglish was replaced as manager by Brendan Rodgers last summer, it became apparent his chances of first-team football would be minimal.

Now, Carroll is focused on helping West Ham build on a creditable 10th place last season. "The way the club is being run, it is only going up, and that is what I want to be a part of," he said. "It is going to be even better (at the Olympic Stadium) when even more fans can fit in and I can't wait." (© Independent News Service)

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