Sport Soccer

Saturday 25 January 2020

Luis Suarez hints at move to PSG as Liverpool’s problems mount

AS if a defeat that all but ended Liverpool’s hopes of reaching the Champions League was not bad enough, their striker Luis Suárez was last night reported to have said he "could" join French league leaders Paris St Germain.

Suárez was reported by French sports website 10 Sport to have told the Canal Football Club television programme on Canal Plus that he could join up with fellow Uruguayan Diego Lugano, who plays for PSG.

“I would love to play at the same club as him,” he reportedly said. “Yes, I could come to Paris, like lots of other clubs.

"There are lots of big clubs with such a reputation who want to build a strong team and Paris are one of these teams who buy to strengthen their side.”

The news is certain to be greeted with concern at Anfield where Suárez has become something of a talisman since joining from Ajax in January last year.

But if he wants to play in Europe’s elite competition next season, he looks almost certain to have to ply his trade elsewhere as Liverpool are now 10 points off fourth following three league defeats in a row.

A Merseyside derby with Everton tomorrow night is not the ideal game to try to end a losing streak and the mid-table pack, led by Sunderland, are only two points behind them.

It is a good thing that Liverpool have pocketed the Carling Cup — and a route into the Europa League — and have an FA Cup quarter-final to look forward to, otherwise manager Kenny Dalglish would have to answer awkward questions from the club’s American owners.

Dalglish felt a draw would have been a fairer result at the end of an uninspiring encounter here, but his side were poor, slow on the break, starved of width and unimaginative in midfield.

It was Nicklas Bendtner, a striker who does not need to score goals to retain faith in his ability, who condemned Liverpool to another defeat.

Bendtner has not scored as many goals, just five in 20 appearances, as he should on loan from Arsenal, yet there has been no sign of any dip in morale.

Even a visit to Newcastle Magistrates’ court to answer a criminal damage charge this morning as a result of a night out with captain Lee Cattermole before Christmas has failed to knock the stuffing out of him.

Maybe it should. His form at Sunderland is unlikely to have Champions League clubs dashing to sign him as he hoped — although he was linked over the weekend with a £4?million move to Hannover — and there is no guarantee Martin O’Neill will look to turn his temporary stay into a permanent one either.

Bendtner does have talent and Sunderland will hope the knee injury that forced him off on Saturday does not rule him out of the FA Cup quarter-final against Everton.

O’Neill is amused, rather than dismayed, by Bendtner’s high opinion of himself, but does want to see more goals like the one that decided this game.

While Liverpool’s defenders stood and watched Fraizer Campbell’s shot hit the post twice via the back of goalkeeper Pepe Reina, Bendtner followed up and was rewarded with a tap in.

“That will have given him a boost in confidence, although I’ve chided myself because that’s the last thing he needs,” O’Neill said. “He did very well. We have a few jokes at his expense, but when he’s strong and fully fit he is a handful.

“Confidence is a wonderful thing to have, if it’s properly placed. You can have all the self-belief in the world, but you need the ability to go with it. Fortunately he has the ability.”

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