Tuesday 20 March 2018

Luis Suarez sets off summer alarm bells

Luis Suarez hardly sounded like a man with a long-term desire to live in England when he hit out at his detractors last night. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Luis Suarez hardly sounded like a man with a long-term desire to live in England when he hit out at his detractors last night. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Jeremy Wilson

There was a certain irony on Thursday night that Luis Suarez's wife, Sofia, and two young children should end such a memorable evening eating and celebrating on a table adjacent to many of the English media.

Having ended England's World Cup hopes on the pitch, Suarez had earlier wanted to reignite old fires off it by so revelling in the achievement of destroying Roy Hodgson's team.

"Before the game people in England laughed about my attitude over the last few years," he said. "I want to see what they think now. I have dreamt of this moment."

For all the instinct on Merseyside to take a certain pleasure in Suarez's two-fingered verbal gesture at his detractors, an alarm bell should also have gone off.

Remember last summer? Suarez's protracted attempt to force his way out of Anfield began with remarks about the perceived injustice in the English media's treatment of him and ended only when the Liverpool hierarchy firmly rejected his repeated request to leave.

It might be a stretch to suppose there was a deliberate agenda behind Suarez's emotionally charged comments in Sao Paulo, but equally, he hardly sounded like a man with a long-term desire to live in England.


Yesterday there were reports in Spain that Barcelona will offer Chile forward Alexis Sanchez and £30m for Suarez. Liverpool will also be bracing themselves for an approach from Real Madrid.

At this stage, it should be stressed there has been no official contact from either Spanish club and the stance of Brendan Rodgers is unaltered from last year. Liverpool will hope that Suarez's improved contract and the promise of the Champions League will help to avert another summer transfer saga.

The flip side is that Suarez's status as one of the world's best players is now far more obvious. Arsenal were the only club who tabled a formal offer last summer, but all the superpowers of Europe will be queuing around Anfield should they gain any encouragement from Suarez.

After his remarks on Thursday, you can be certain that Suarez's happiness, or otherwise, in England will be a major talking point among the game's main agents and deal-makers.

If it remains hard to understand how Suarez can still feel aggrieved about his treatment for two serious disciplinary transgressions with Liverpool, his reaction to Hodgson's ill-judged pre-match comments about him not yet being "world class" was far more predictable.

"It wasn't revenge, but in England they talked about the injury and the coach had words that annoyed (me)," Suarez said. He is, then, unlikely to have been impressed by Gary Cahill's slightly odd interpretation of his match-winning second goal.

"Sometimes, as a forward, you get a bit of luck," Cahill said. "He took his first goal very well. For the second he was very, very fortunate."

Leighton Baines noted how Suarez had been less energetic than usual in general play, presumably owing to a lack of match fitness following the knee surgery that threatened to rule him out of the World Cup. Suarez said Walter Ferreira, the Uruguay physiotherapist, was responsible for his rapid recovery and two goals against England.

It leaves a frightening – and enticing – thought. If Suarez can play like this in his first match for almost six weeks, what might he still achieve in Brazil over the next month? (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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