It’s International Week – Luis Is Off…

21 March 2013

The press have nothing to talk about so they have decided that Luis must be leaving. Matt Sproston looks at what if…


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I don’t like international football. If I can be bothered to watch it I’ll root for whoever has the most Liverpool players. At one stage or another I’ve followed England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, France and Uruguay. Oh, and Finland. They were probably my favourites. Sami and Jari, what’s not to like? I never really got behind Senegal though to be honest.

I went to one England game. An end of season friendly against South Africa at Old Trafford. Never again. It was while walking to the ground on that beautiful sunny May afternoon that I realised that to properly support England you should come from south of Watford and have a penchant for rolling over cars, neither of which applied to me. On top of that nonsense, Jamie Redknapp broke his leg. He was always breaking something but it was another good reason to dislike international week.

And that’s another thing. It’s not a week, it’s a fortnight. In fact its 15 days in between Liverpool games and it could not have come at a worse time. The Southampton performance was dire and everybody from the manager to the players to the fans would have wanted another game as soon as possible to put things right. Instead that result will fester until we get to Villa Park.

The biggest problem I have with international week is having to read and listen to and watch the nonsense that is churned out by the media. Granted, it must be a hard job filling the sports news when there’s nothing happening. Hence we have national panic over who will play centre half against a team no better than a pub side and from a country smaller than Runcorn. Then we have outrage over a tackle in a Wigan game the likes of which in reality we see every week. The dearth of newsworthy items was no better highlighted by the seemingly endless obituaries for some fella named Owen who retired from football in 2004.

Luis Suarez

And then when there is literally nothing else to write about we get the weekly obligatory Luis Suarez story. Now I did a piece last week on the media portrayal of Luis so I’m not surprised that his innocuous comments have been twisted, tarted up and regurgitated with a negative slant. The story should have been Suarez looks forward to next season at Liverpool. He said “I’m in a world-class team, an elite team like Liverpool. We have to realise we have a new manager who is imposing a philosophy and a way of playing that the players are adapting to as best we can. We hope that it will bear fruit next year.”

Instead the headlines were made by the other quotes “I am very happy at Liverpool but you never know in football. If another team comes around with more prospects of competing in international club competition games, which is willing to have me, they are welcome. We would talk to the club, we would see if I want to go, if I don’t want to go.” Like I said, innocuous.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think he’ll go and when I heard the quotes I was happy to hear him talk about next season positively. But what if he does go? What if Barcelona or Real Madrid came in with £50 million or £60 million or however many millions and the club said “deal”? How would we cope? Would panic break out on the streets of Anfield? Would the Liverbirds fly away? Or maybe the sewers under the Kop would collapse like they did when Rushie went to Juventus! I heard it said on the radio that we would be “doomed” if Suarez left. That’s right Liverpool would be “doomed”.

For those of you of a nervous disposition let me give you a few words of comfort. Liddell. St John. Hunt. Keegan. Dalglish. Rush. Barnes. Fowler. Owen. Torres. All great players. At their peak all were among the greatest players in the world. All attacking players. All played for Liverpool. All gone.

And what happened when they went? We (and by “we” I mean the club, the fans, the team) moved on. The next talisman came along and we got behind him and the team as usual. I’ve got a feeling the next heroes are already at the club. One of them hasn’t played for the first team yet but he’s not far away.

Who could we bring in to replace Luis if he did go? This is Anfield’s editor, Matt, suggested Christian Eriksen. Good call playing in behind Sturridge. With crazy money for Luis we would surely be in for Cavani. Maybe Isco at Malaga. James Rodriguez or Jackson Martinez at Porto. Different types of players to Luis but there’s not really anybody who plays like him….

The fact is that he’s still with us and we should enjoy it while we can because like death and taxes it is certain that one day he will be gone. Don’t be in any doubt that there will be life (and heroes) after Suarez, after all we are Liverpool FC. When Torres left (and panic broke out) Kenny Dalglish said “there is no one anywhere in the world at any stage who is any bigger or any better than this football club.” Spot on Kenny.

Do you know when he said that? At the press conference to announce the signing of a certain Luis Suarez…..

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