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Striker Suarez fits the bill for Liverpool

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Tim Vickery | 16:46 UK time, Monday, 31 January 2011

The last time I saw new Liverpool signing Luis Suarez in the flesh, he was playing his biggest game so far in his native continent.

It was November 2009, and Uruguay were taking on Costa Rica with the final place in South Africa 2010 at stake. As Uruguay coach Oscar Washington Tabarez reflected recently, the World Cup can be enjoyed but the qualification process has to be suffered.

Uruguay certainly suffered to book their place, and despite having a 1-0 lead from the away leg, they were certainly suffering that night against Costa Rica. They dominated the game, but while the goals refused to go in, nerves were jangling, especially for Suarez.

The young striker had an unhappy evening. He started badly, and instead of easing his way into the game with some simple lay-offs, he kept searching for the extravagant option, trying too hard and only making things worse. Soon after the hour mark, coach Tabarez had suffered enough, and Suarez was substituted.

It is a memory that that, from the point of view of Suarez and his new club, gives cause for concern. The one question mark against Luis Suarez is his temperament. Now that Fernando Torres is moving on to Chelsea, will the Uruguayan be able to cope with the demands of coming straight in to lead the Reds' attack?

Torres' decision to leave is frustrating because Liverpool had the possibility of a very exciting partnership. For Spain, Torres has worked effectively with David Villa, a striker who excels at cutting in towards goal on the diagonal - and that is a Luis Suarez speciality.

Luis Suarez arrives at Liverpool's Melwood training ground

Suarez could hardly be coming to England at a more suitable moment in his career. Photo. Reuters

With his strength, burst of acceleration, ability to go either side and box of tricks, an on form Suarez is a defender's nightmare. He has so many options available to him that his marker can never be sure what he is going to do.

Not only does he score plenty, but he also sets up a stream of goals - an observation which, admittedly to this writer on the other side of the Atlantic, made the want-away stance of Fernando Torres somewhat baffling.

It will surely be more difficult for Suarez to forge an understanding from scratch with fellow new arrival Andy Carroll. Nevertheless, Liverpool fans should be happy that the club have signed a hugely impressive striker.

At the age of 24, and with several seasons in Europe behind him, Suarez could hardly be coming to England at a more suitable moment in his career. His temperament will surely be tested, but I don' t think his ability is in doubt.

The deal is testament to the remarkable capacity of Uruguay to keep churning out top class players. Football-crazy nations such as Colombia (population 45 million) and Peru (nearly 30 million) failed to make it to the last World Cup.

Uruguay, with less than 3.5 million, were punching above their weight just by qualifying for South Africa, let alone by reaching the semi finals.

The first kings of the global game, Uruguay were unbeaten in World Cups until an extra-time defeat to the great Hungarians in the 1954 semi-final. The achievements of the old guard made football a vital part of Uruguayan identity, and inspired generations of kids to excel at the game. But those same achievements were also intimidating.

Tabarez talks of 'the curse of the Maracana,' the stadium in Rio where Uruguay shocked Brazil to win the 1950 World Cup. For six decades afterwards, Uruguay teams were measured by their home public against the 1950 heroes and found wanting. Suarez and his team-mates from last year have lifted the curse.

A vital part of that process has been played by the Under-20 sides. Like Argentina before them, Uruguay understood that their domestic football would inevitably suffer from the globalisation of the game, with their talented youngsters plucked away to Europe. Their youth set-up, then, was where they needed to groom players for the future of the senior side.

Four years ago, Suarez was not in action at the 2007 South American Under-20 Championships in Paraguay. He was already in Holland. Two members of the Uruguay side were particularly impressive - for World Soccer magazine, I picked out striker Edinson Cavani and defender Martin Caceres in a round-up of the best players on show.

Uruguay qualified for that year's World Youth Cup in Canada, and this time Suarez was on duty. He and Cavani scored all their goals. Three months later, Suarez was playing - and scoring - as Uruguay began their 2010 World Cup qualification campaign. Before long, Cavani and Caceres had joined him - an excellent example of the Under-20s serving as a conveyor belt to the senior squad.

The 2005 Under-20 team supplied superb centre back Diego Godin, left wing back Alvaro Pereira and goalkeeper Nicolas Muslera, as well as talented little winger Cristian Rodriguez who missed the World Cup through suspension.

Playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro was the star of the 2009 Under-20s, and at the end of the year played an important role in those play-offs against Costa Rica that booked Uruguay's place in South Africa. The tournament did not go as he would have hoped, with a red card followed by a serious injury, but he has plenty of time to get back on track.

His Under-20 colleagues Abel Hernandez, Sebastian Coates and Gaston Ramirez have since been promoted to the senior squad.

And what of this year's crop? It is a good time to pose the question, with the 2011 South American Under-20 Championships going into the decisive second phase. Uruguay made it through, but hardly in style - there were two defeats and a draw as well as one crushing win over Chile. They will now be expected to raise their game - some of this generation looked very promising in the last World Under-17 Cup.

Left-back (or centre-half) Diego Polenta is comfortably the stand out so far. Others to look out for - centre forward Federico Rodriguez, centre-half Leandro Cabrera, midfielders Pablo Cepelini and the right-sided Camilo Mayada. And Adrian Luna is a quick striker who works the flanks well. But he does not seem to have quite the thrust and the two-footed tricks of Suarez.

Liverpool's new acquisition has the kind of attacking threat that you don't see every day, even in the South American Under-20 Championships.

Comments on the piece in the space provided. Questions on South American football to vickerycolumn@hotmail.com, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.

From last week's postbag;

Q) Can you imagine the situation when players such as Iniesta, Terry, Fabregas or one of the other top European players decide to play in the Brazilian league? Do you think that higher budgets and new stadia would encourage stars who have never played beyond Europe to move to South America? Or are there some factors which make it just impossible (high crime rates, problems with acclimatisation)?
Damian Piatkowski

A) I can imagine it happening in the future in the occasional case of a top player wanting to experience something different at the end of his career. Malouda of Chelsea talked of playing in Brazil because of the atmosphere in the stadia (my advice on that score would be to go to Argentina). If it can sort out its calendar (a big if) then the Brazilian Championship can be on the same level as the major European ones - but it can't offer access to the Champions League, making it difficult to imagine top European players at their peak taking the chance.


Q) I would like to ask about a team in Chile based in Vina del Mar, which has close links with one of England's top clubs - CD Everton. In 2008 they won the Apertura league title, yet last season they were relegated. What was the reason for their quick downfall? I read that after the friendly at Goodison Park in the summer, which was in the middle of their season, they hit a bad run. Was it just down to this, or was there more to it? Also, is it likely they'll bounce straight back up?
Adam Bennett

A) For all their tradition, Everton are not one of the big clubs of Chilean football, though their stadium is a wonderfully scenic place to watch the game. Their recent rise and fall is an example of the fluidity of domestic football in South America. The traditional powers from Santiago had a poor campaign - an excellent Colo Colo side had just broken up because the best players had been sold - leaving space for Everton to nip in and land their first title since 1976. But if Colo Colo can't hang on to their best players, Everton have no chance - the biggest blow was losing their excellent Argentine striker Ezequiel Miralles. In effect, Everton paid the price of their success - it put their players in the shop window. So they have now gone down - though I would expect them to bounce back before long.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    You said it.

  • Comment number 3.

    Great signing. Admit it would have been interesting to see Suarez-Torres together but the Luis-Carroll partnership could be different and exciting, well done LFC!

  • Comment number 4.

    1. At 00:04am on 01 Feb 2011, That_Dude_G wrote:

    no 1

    -------------

    Well done, you've achieved something utterly pointless in every regard.

    Tim, what's the overall youth structure like in Uruguay? You mention that it is key to the success of their national side, as seems to be the case with so many of the nations that do well on the big stage, but what is it exactly that they do? To get a World Cup semi-final out of a 3.5 million-strong nation is phenomenal. With that kind of ratio, England really ought to be pushing for the 'best in the world ever' spot. Could whatever system is in place in Uruguay be implemented in Britain?

  • Comment number 5.

    As always, an interesting and informative blog. Keep up the good work, Tim!

  • Comment number 6.

    Does Suarez going to Liverpool means British papers will talk over and over about his handball (again) and paint him like he was the Devil incarnate (again)?

  • Comment number 7.

    @4

    People always seem to say this can we implement what they have done in the south american countires in our youth,

    I think to an extent it cam be done but I also feel the fact that there are alot more oppurtunities for people in England than there are IN these south american countries and that their culture towards football if different

  • Comment number 8.

    #4: It's called "baby football". Uruguay must have the highest ratio of cows/person and football teams/person in the world. The vast majority of these football teams correspond to "baby football", where kids from 6 to 12 years old or so play... every little town has its own league. It's not the only country in the world where every little kids spends every waking hour playing football. Unlike say Brazil, the country has still a decent development so that very few little kid has to worry about finding a piece of bread when they get back home from playing football... I think that removes quite a few hurdles to going from babyfootball to premier league (the only left are the football agents that act like mafia vulptures, and Mr Damiani).

    A few years ago Uruguay also became the second country in the world (after Vanatu or one of those tiny islands) to give every little child in school a laptop (the OLPC program, and 99.99& of children go to school). A wonderful thing... I only wonder how much it'll influence the time spent playing video games in stead of football in 'el campito' and the output of new players 15 years in the future!

  • Comment number 9.

    Luis/Carroll - could be a work of fairytale. Are the reds going to be in Wonderland? I hope so. Let's hope we see the most of the inventiveness and that the aggression is better channelled...

  • Comment number 10.

    by the way... Suarez > Torres every day!

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    you have repeated the same chunk of text (ends in the word baffling each time) twice in a row. Check your article before you post it, you amateur!

  • Comment number 14.

    35 million pounds for Andy Carol! hilarious... Need any more proofs that English football is going no where in a hurry? this was ridiculous as it comes! especially considering david villa and dzeko cost less than him, does it even make a shred of sense?

  • Comment number 15.

    I think that comparing Luis Suarez to David Villa is a valid one, they are somewhat similar players. But an area where I think Suarez will have trouble adjusting in England, besides his temperament which Tim mentioned, is that Suarez goes down pretty easily. Eventually he will learn he won't get away with that in England but he does dive a lot and I expect that will be something which quickly gets noticed now that he will play for Liverpool.

    So Brazilian born Portugal international forward Liedson is returning to Corinthians from Sporting Lisbon. First Deco, now Liedson, does that mean Pepe is the next luso-brazilian to come home? And now Corinthians can pair the overweight Ronaldo with the underweight Liedson!

    Fernando Cavenaghi has signed on loan with Internacional, a chance to use the Libertadores to revive his once very promising career.

  • Comment number 16.

    Suarez is a 30M player and Carroll is probably at 20M player with the English inflation. Torres, with his indifferent attitude to away matches and most matches in general this year, is worth about 30M (almost 3 years older than Suarez and only good at scoring, can't hold up the ball or bring teammates into play). IMHO Liverpool did very well in this transfer window. We got younger, more physical, more creative.

  • Comment number 17.

    Liverpool loose Torres, but gain Carroll and Suarez. Not a bad deal indeed.

  • Comment number 18.

    Tim Vickery, paragraph 8 is also the second half of paragraph 10. Get editing mate.

  • Comment number 19.

    #4 - It is quite simple. Let your kids have fun playing at their own. Kids in South America (who eventually make it to professional football) usually start playing on teams with a smaller amount of players (5-8 at each team). In fact, in Brazil kids usually play on a futsal court but with a lighter ball. The goal is to enable them to have fun and as much contact with the ball as possible. Then when they are 12 or older they go to a football club. Teams usually have observers to watch the kids.

    And when kids get to a football club, the main goal is to work on football skills - dribling, passing, defending, kicking, etc.

    I am afraid that somehow most of the English kids are misguided in this process...

  • Comment number 20.

    Hey Tim, great blog as usual!

    You repeated this phrase here though: "Not only does he score plenty, but he also sets up a stream of goals - an observation which, admittedly to this writer on the other side of the Atlantic, makes the want-away stance of Torres somewhat baffling."

    Why do you think Torres still left even though they were bringing in players to help him out? Do you think it's a case of too little, too late?

  • Comment number 21.

    its hardly a nightmare mistake, he still makes knowledgeable points and interesting blogs, lay off a bit.

    3.5mil? thats incredible, sorta undermines scotlands excuse of only having 5mil people haha, although we can still blame the climate (uruguay is hot right? :)). hopefully him n carroll will keep their temperaments under control, could be a gd partnership, they can both go and live with stevie G if need be

  • Comment number 22.

    When it comes down to brass tacks, we have lost one 27 year old injury prone striker who hasn't reached the heights of his first season, and gained two excellent young strikers.

    If Suarez is a success in the PL then he will double in value within the next twelve months. If Carroll is a success at his age, he could be worth £45m - £50m in twelve months. That is the sort of money Real or Barcelona would pay for a young successful PL striker.

    I do know this depends on them being successful, but can anyone really see them being flops?

  • Comment number 23.

    13 and others. - last week's piece was let down by some factual errors - entirely my own fault.

    This week's mistake - text repetition - happened in London.

  • Comment number 24.

    Suárez is going to be a pantomime villain for every set of opposition fans, as soon as he steps out on the pitch with Liverpool.

    Expect him to get booed from the word go, as he has a reputation for being a dirty player; which is sometimes justified ( diving, biting(!) ), sometmes unjustified ( handball against Ghana ).

    However, he strikes me as the kind of player who would thrive on that sort of atmosphere and reception, and I think he'll be a big success in the EPL - even if he won't be universally popular with the fans and media !

  • Comment number 25.

    Cavani, Forlan and Suarez can bring fear to any side Uruguay plays against. I believe that if they had a player with ideas in the midfield, a "10", they could reach their great potential. Instead, Uruguay has to use their traditional "garra charrua", it did very well for them in South Africa, but like I said, with a player like Francescoli or even Recoba they would be at another level.

  • Comment number 26.

    Tim, only 2 or 3 Sth Americans have made a name in England; Juninho & Tevez, maybe Ardiles. Do you think Suarez can be any good? Dirk Kuyt scored plenty in Eurodivisie.


    60m is obviously way too much for these two, but what was Dalglish to do? Torres really stitched him up

  • Comment number 27.

    The prices paid for Torres and Carroll - who is very much a work-in-progress - were ludicrous. However, in effect Liverpool got Carroll and 15 mil for off-the-boil Torres, which is a good deal. Pool's net outlay of 7.7 mil for Suarez and Carroll, youngsters on long-term contracts, could look a great deal over the years, depending on the extent to which Carroll achieves his potential.

    Last I heard, Carroll had a bail condition requiring him to live with Kevin Nolan. Has this been resolved?

  • Comment number 28.

    The Carroll, Suarez partnership makes me think of Toshack and Keegan. Time will tell whether it will be THAT good but still very exciting.

  • Comment number 29.

    Luis Suárez is the real deal and will be fabulously successful in the EPL. Carroll has the potential to become a great player. Together with Gerrard and Meireles will soon win silverware for Liverpool.

  • Comment number 30.

    Great Blog Tim.
    Suarez is a winner, Liverpool's fans will love him, diving or not, he will try to do everything to win and.. at the end this is what we want.

  • Comment number 31.

    Will the legendary Liverpool "Walk on" chant be replaced by a shorter, snappier "Walking along, singing a song, walking in a Luis-Carroll wonderland ...?!"

  • Comment number 32.

    It saddens me that liverpool lost Torres to chelsea. Torres has a killer instinct and scores out of nowhere. He feeds on perfect passes to oottrun defenders. He is miserable with out them and that is where Divid Villa excels. At chelsea every player fights it out and he would starved of perfect passes now that Lampard is of gear. Suarez fit the bill at Liverpool. He fights for the ball and has a very bad temper. Hope he can be tamed like Rooney. Very now Liverpool has a manager with who wants to attack thus signing striking partners. Something Rafa could not fanthorm. He wasted funds and could not manage the good signings he made. He could produc a caup for 4 yrs. welcome Suarez/Carrol take us to where we belong


    I only want to see a good defending midfielder after August and a central defender to replace Krykiakos. a left back and and a better player than Maxi

  • Comment number 33.

    Just what this country needs, another diver.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    Liverpool have their very own Lou & Andy... "Yeah, I know"!

  • Comment number 36.

    Some people may or may not agree with me but, in my opinion, I think Liverpool have done well here.
    Torres' main attribute was pace.He doesn't appear to have any strength. Once his pace starts deteriorating by the age of, say 29-30? Well, Chelsea have in a sense paod £50m for a striker at his prime for another 3 and a half years.
    Suarez speaks for himself, but Carroll has in my opinion 12 years of football left due to the fact he only relies on his strength and height to head the ball. Also, Liverpool paid £35m for a 21 year old who scored 11 goals in 19 games for Newcastle in their return to the premier league whilst they've let Torres go for £50m who scored less goals and has less years of playing time ahead of him than Carroll... Do the maths ;)

  • Comment number 37.

    Exciting times are ahead for Liverpool and it's a pity Torres never seen this. For all their recent success domestically Chelsea are not a big club simply because they have never conquered Europe and with their ageing players they have no chance to fulfill Torres's immediate requirements.

    Suarez & Carroll together will be a supreme double act for many years to come because they have time on their side. Liverpool now have stability in the club with Owners who know the value of getting things right on the pitch and with fans who know that it will take time but we're on the right path.

    Chelsea are in an unusual position because their main men are now at the point of age catching up with them, with more time out with injuries and not having the personnel to replace them. Cech is not the keeper he used to be anymore, John Terry is an accident waiting to happen playing game to game on pain killing injections, Frank Lampard's most recent injury highlighting his age and it taking longer than anticipated for him to heal and Didier Drogba having more and more niggling injuries making him play less and less.

    I genuinely feel Chelsea will drop out the top4 this season with no champions league next season which will be an immediate slap in the face for Torres. It will take another huge cash injection in the summer from Abramovich to find players to give them the strength indepth but also a huge job for Ancelotti to recruit players who'll put up with Europa League football for a season or 2? sad times ahead for Torres...

  • Comment number 38.

    Very good blog Tim, it was an interesting read even as a United fan.

    While Suarez is undoubtedly a talented player, my only major concern is his temperament. Everybody already knows about the infamous handball against Ghana and the biting incident, but his behavior in general is very poor. I can't see crowds in England warming to his playacting, card waving, and attitude towards the refs. Maybe he'll cut this part out of his game at Liverpool, but he's going to have to do it fast before he builds a reputation for that kind of thing.

    No doubt he has the talent, but in my opinion he will need to wise up if he wants to be a success in the Premier League.

  • Comment number 39.

    Toshack - Keegan? more like Sutton - Shearer which worked obviously well at Blackburn. Although Torres is more Shearer like than Suarez so time will tell. The bottom line is that Kenny is obviously going to attack teams more with a genuine two up top something we've not really seen since the Evans era with Collymore - Fowler (ok I know Fowler and Owen played together and people came and went to compliment either of these but it was never a 'proper' show of attacking force). every manager since Evans has taken a pragmatic tactical view. it pains me to say this but you have to use Mr. Ferguson and Man U as your benchmark. lets attck the hell out of teams and play some football to get the crowd going- and I don't mean lump it up to Carroll for knockdowns all the time.
    FT was always going to leave - the rumours have been rife up here for months. I think Kenny has done a good bit of business here

  • Comment number 40.

    Torres is a proven great scorer, but lately does his attitude (fitness) indicate worth £50m? Very sorry to see him go nevertheless but his choice! No one thinks Carroll is worth the money but time will tell! In the few days left after the transfer request what could L/pool do? C Ronaldo was the hated diver when first at MU, he got over it so no worry about Suarez.
    Finish on one point for argument - Benitez should have played Crouch with Torres and that would have been a partnership!!

  • Comment number 41.

    Suarez was excellent in the world cup and for Ajax, but as Diego Forlan proved there is no telling how some players will adapt to the rigours of the Premier League. I guess Andy Carroll will be a safer buy in that respect for Liverpool, but you could hardly say at £35M and with one season in the Premier League he isnt a massive gamble. I read somewhere that Andy Carroll's goal return is slightly worse than Amir Zaki's was a few seasons ago (same goals but Zaki played one game less). Both had behavioural issues, but I can see Carroll doing a little better than Zaki subsequently did.

    http://www.inofftheghost.com

  • Comment number 42.

    Suarez was an excellent signing and showed good ambition from Liverpool (I was disappointed Spurs didn't sign him), which is why I was surprised at Torres going. Perhaps if it had happened before the start of the season, Nando would have given it one more full year at L'Pool.

    50mil for a fully fit, fully firing Torres is a fair price, but lets face it, he hasn't been that for a while. Hopefully for him and Chelsea this move will spark him back.

    Carroll has played six months in the premier league and I think that is why people are shocked at the price - there are plenty of players who have had a hot six months and then faded again. Don't get me wrong, I like him, but at that price (more than David Villa cost Barca!) it has to be seen as a gamble.

    Finally, maybe someone in the England set up should go to Uruguay and see how such a small nation is managing to produce so many good players and a good national side. Maybe its because their domestic league is not flooded with players from other countries...

  • Comment number 43.

    £7.7m for 2 quality strikers, that seems a bit of a bargain to me. Torres wanted to go and we got a very good price for him. At last my club is looking to the future, this has been a very good bit of business for LFC, I can't imagine Woy pulling this off. I think Torres will look back on this move to Chelski as a big mistake. Suarez is a fantastic player and overall brings more to the table than Torres could, I think he will work well with Carroll. Onwards and upwards. I wonder if Torres will be playing on Sunday?

  • Comment number 44.

    #22 - Torres is 26
    #26 - Gilberto Silva has a Giant Anteater named after him in London Zoo, so he did make a name for himself in this country. He won a title and 2 FA Cups also.

    For all those criticising the writer for the repeated paragraph - have you heard of sub editors?

  • Comment number 45.

    Livepool just made 50 million on a player who has spent eighteen months injured, sulking, and playing with his hair. I wanted him to stay and build a title winning team, but I'm also never sorry when a want away player goes. For a nett spend of 8 million or so we've signed two players who are young, talented, and potentially have a decade playing together ahead of them. Chelsea just paid for three seasons of Torres at just under 17 million a season pus wages.

    Me? Bovvered? Am I bovvered though?

    No. Kenny has got the team playing, brought great players in and made a stinking fortune on a player who might have peaked but who certainly only has three years left at top level before his pace goes.

    Keegan and Toshack
    Rush and Dalglish
    Aldridge and Barnes
    Suarez and Carroll?

  • Comment number 46.

    I BELIEVE LUIZ SUAREZ CAN MAKE A VERY GOOD CHANGE IN LEVERPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB EVEN WITHOUT FERNANDO TORRES AND I BELIEVE SUAREZ IS GOING TO PERFORM OR FUNCTION MORE THAN TORRES.WISHING SUAREZ AND TORREZ THE BEST OF THE SEASON...GOD BLESS...

  • Comment number 47.

    44. At 09:05am on 01 Feb 2011, Dr Wang wrote:

    #22 - Torres is 26

    ============================

    27 in March, but hey, who's nit picking?

  • Comment number 48.

    As a Chelsea fan I can't decide who the biggest losers are here

    Torres is quality, but £50 million? A very questionable injury record, and at 26 he's not exactly young fdor a striker. I hope I'm proven wrong

    As for Pool. They have Suarez, tested only in the Dutch league: Kezman, Alves, Babel all shone in the Dutch League and bombed everywhere else

    As for Carroll. You can make a very good case for Torres being world class. the same cannot be said for Carroll. £35 million? I would say Newcastle are laughing but given their remaining strikers are Ameobi and Leon Best I think they'll struggle to remain in the League

  • Comment number 49.

    Well what can i say, £35 million for Carroll is a massive punt for Liverpool imo, which in time may or may not be justified.What puzzles me though is that Dalglish has not strengthen the back four , with especially a top class central defender to replace zorba the greek and the likes.
    Torres now on £175k a week at Chelsea, hmm makes you wonder why he wanted to leave Liverpool ? What was he on at LFC ? has he doubled his money ?
    Amazing how money clarifies you career path , like our very own Wazza who did his very own version of should i stay or should i go till the money was improved, good job he is not on performance related pay or we be getting a rebate back from him.
    Recession what recession ? obviously football in the Uk immune to it lol.

    Anyhow it adds a little bit of spice to the forthcoming Moscow v Boston game oops sorry i meant Chelsea v Liverpool lol.


  • Comment number 50.

    Had to comment on the first question put to Tim this week in the article. Terry is NOT a top European player and should never be included in the same sentence as Iniesta and Fabregas who themselves are a different class.

  • Comment number 51.

    liverpool are a side in progress and will build on a british foundation under kenny if he stays on is it going to be the start of a 4-3-3 formation with cole carroll and suarez and gerrard lucas and merrless behind charlie adam would have been a good buy to replace lucas from that 3 but its the left back slot that worries me these forwards are going to work and everybody deep down knows this

    but johnson is a right footed play how is this giving any balance ???

  • Comment number 52.

    Suarez is an excellent player and a good buy for Liverpool. He is a diver and has a certain attitude on the field, but you never know how that can change in a completely different league?

    I think 50m for Torres is WAY too much (as is 35m for Carroll) but isn't a player's value really just based on whatever someone wants to pay for them? In this case, quite a lot... and Liverpool would be crazy not to sell him!

    I agree with #37...

    -----------------
    Exciting times are ahead for Liverpool and it's a pity Torres never seen this. For all their recent success domestically Chelsea are not a big club simply because they have never conquered Europe and with their ageing players they have no chance to fulfill Torres's immediate requirements.
    -----------------

    But I suppose he couldn't really say no to that kind of salary, could he.

    Very curious to see if Suarez/Carroll and Torres for Chelsea live up to their potential. You'd think it can't be anything but brilliant but then again you never know a player reacts to a different league or even a different team.

  • Comment number 53.

    Good signings for Liverpool.
    Suarez+Carrol >>> Torres.
    Liverpool, the winner; Newcastle, the loser (in footballing terms); Jury still out on Chelsea!
    Torres can't partner Drogba, so not a great signing in the short term, but on the long run will adequately replace Drogba!

  • Comment number 54.

    Brillient Liverpool. Chelsea will be lucky to get 5 good games from torres, 10 mill a game!
    There 'was' no doubt that torres as an athlete 'was' the tops but if he where to be that good now then a spanish club would have have made him their priority. The now exposed primo-donna has gained a lot of dosh but will soon be ridiculed.

  • Comment number 55.

    Liverpool ruined two very good bits of business by blowing £35 on Carroll.

    Good player, potential to be very good, but nowhere near worth that. They would have been much better off spending that money on Charlie Adam and new centre back.

  • Comment number 56.

    Personally, I'm still very unsure.
    I've always supported Torres through the highs and lows (as most LFC supporters have, and quite rightly so) and do feel disappointed by his transfer. He IS a World-Class Striker, and IMO, is getting back to form (3 goals in past 4 games) and is starting to look every bit the striker he was when he joined us. He has proven himself in the PL, and lets be honest, we've had a tough 18 months and every player at the club has been affected by the off-pitch nonsense and unstablities, aswell as poor on-field displays, so it's not completly surprising that he's been off form. In fact, i find it difficult to think of 1 Liverpool Player who has consistenly performed at their usual high level (even Pepe and Stevie have had tough times by their own high standards).
    To me, Torres has this aura about him that he can make something out of nothing, and once he is feeling that little bit confident, he can tear defences apart. Personally, I am still unsure if Suraez and Carroll have that aura about them, and I am still reserved about how well they will adapt and work together and with the rest of the team.
    Say what you like about Suraez and Carroll, but they will take time to gel with the team, and if all 3 players are on top form and playing their best, I know who I would want in my team first!
    With Carroll and Suraez my question is are they PL Winning material....!? I just don't feel as confident with them as I did with Torres name on the teamsheet.

  • Comment number 57.

    Please see my blog response to Dan Walker circa April/May 2010 - I correctly predicted that Uruguay would make "The Semi Finals at Least". One of my main reasons for this was the Attacking force of Suarez and Forlan.

    Regrettably, whichever way you look at it, had Suarez featured in the Semi, I think Uruguay could well have made it through. (I'm sure people will point out this could never have happened, because Uruguay would have gone out but for his handball). But hypothetically, I think they would.

    WHat Liverpool are getting is a very Busy and Industrious Forward. He is always involved and likes, as Tim said to cut in from the flanks. I'd liken him to a mix between Villa and Tevez. Possibly without the brute strength and determination as Tevez, and possibly without the consistent class of Villa. His big problem however WILL be his tendency to dive, and fall unde rthe slightest contact as well as feigning injury and assault.

    However I believe that he will be a 20 goals a season striker.

    Tim - what are your thoughts on Maxi Lopez? Are we seeing a late career revival from the front man after years of mediocrity and under achievement. I think he would be suited to the Premiership and I am surprised that some bigger clubs have not been sniffing recently

  • Comment number 58.

    @ Shefman, don't give me that nonsense about yet another diving foreigner, English top-flight players are just as bad. Rooney, Gerrard, Johnson and many others all fall over when it suits them.

    As for the partnership with Carroll and Suarez I'm too young to remember Toshack and Keegan but I do remember my first season watching Liverpool with Fowler and Collymore tearing up defences, hopefully they can replicate that fear factor although maybe not the injuries/ headlines.

  • Comment number 59.



    A blog based on watching a player in November 2009?

    Why not one on Torres - he was decent then.

    You can't fit a square-ass in a round hole.

  • Comment number 60.

    Re 22. TheArmBand wrote:
    "When it comes down to brass tacks, we have lost one 27 year old injury prone striker who hasn't reached the heights of his first season, and gained two excellent young strikers.

If Suarez is a success in the PL then he will double in value within the next twelve months. If Carroll is a success at his age, he could be worth £45m - £50m in twelve months. That is the sort of money Real or Barcelona would pay for a young successful PL striker.

I do know this depends on them being successful, but can anyone really see them being flops?"

    ------------------------

    You seem to have changed your tune. Only a few days ago you were listing all of Man Utd's expensive signings in an attempt to prove that they've bought their success. Presumably now you've abandoned your stance that spending money is a bad thing if you have it to spend?


    Re 53. ProudlyUnited
    "Liverpool, the winner; Newcastle, the loser (in footballing terms)"

    Newcastle will clearly be weakened without Carroll from now until the end of the season but in the long term, £35million is an extraordinary amount. That's more than David Villa!!!! Newcastle can invest wisely in three or four quality players and it will stand them in far better stead in the long run. I'd be buzzing if someone spent £35mil on a Leicester front-man!

  • Comment number 61.

    Never understood the furore over Suarez' hand-ball in the world cup, i think any player would have done the same in the situation. I think it was because it was against Ghana - the darlings of the media and press for an African world cup - that somehow made it even more 'shameful'. At the end of the day Gyan lost his nerve when it counted.

    However i was a tad concerned when i found out Suarez was serving a suspension for biting(!), although i do not know the circumstances surrounding it. I would hope that would be a one-off because he is clearly a ridiculously talented player, younger than Torres, who may well surpass the Spaniard's achievements at Liverpool. Would love to see him steal the headlines at Stamford Bridge and score the winner on Sunday.

  • Comment number 62.

    Liverpool fan. Very happy to have Suarez join our club, the ability to do the unexpected has been missing from our attacking play. It is a huge shame he wont get to form a partnership with Torres as that could have been amazing.

    Instead he will be upfront with the latest hugely over priced English 10 minute wonder (Andy Carroll), worse than that it means Gerrard will not be in his best position (off the main striker) and will instead be playing hollywood balls from centre midfield and it means the excellent Lucas will have to do the defensive work of 2 men! I despair.

  • Comment number 63.

    #49 Torres was previously on £110,000 a week, having taken a pay rise from his previous wage of £90,000 a week when he signed his last new 5 year contract a year ago.

    I hope Carroll uses his youth to develop into a class act, but I doubt he will ever be worth £35 million.

  • Comment number 64.

    Liverpool have done well. Torres hasn't rediscovered his form since his injury lay-off but then his service has been poor with Gerrard also being injured. Carroll has shown he can score in the Premiership, but as I mentioned earlier will the deliveries up to him be of sufficient quality. Newcastle's play revolved around the big lad and it will be interesting to see how Liverpool adapt to him. Suarez is also a proven goal machine in Holland but this will be a different game and it depends on how quickly he can adapt to the English game. That said with Carroll holding up the ball and Suarez making the runs it could turn into a very fruitful partnership.

    Torres-Drogba-Anelka will be potent, especially if the likes of Lampard and Essien stay fit and provide that quality service. With the signing of Luiz Chelsea have bolstered the areas they needed most and depending on how quickly he settles they could be right back in the title race. Liverpool-Chelsea on Sunday will be an even bigger game now, can't wait.

    On a side note, Newcastle have not replaced Carroll and I think I'm right in saying that they lost two strikers in the transfer window, although one of them was Xisco. Will they have the goals to stay up or will they now slide down the league?

  • Comment number 65.

    In contrast to most people, I think Luis Suarez is a very bad buy for Liverpool. I've watched him in the Dutch league over the last few seasons and he is petulant and very prone to diving. He got away with it at Ajax because he scored goals and they built the team around him but watch out, this guy makes Didier Drogba (the early years!) look like fair player of the century. Dutch Eredivisie players don't have much good to say about Suarez - what you saw in the World Cup on the goal line pretty much represents the type of player he is - is that the Liverpool spirit? I don't think so - he'll be transferred at a loss, to Spain within two years!

  • Comment number 66.

    49. At 09:24am on 01 Feb 2011, ryangiggseatsbananas wrote:

    Torres now on £175k a week at Chelsea, hmm makes you wonder why he wanted to leave Liverpool ?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I think Torres said the reason during his interview last night. He wants to win trophies and if any Liverpool fan is honest he has more chance at Chelsea than he does at Liverpool. Granted the added wages would have only helped push the deal through, but as a world cup winner at 26 he needs to be winning major trophies domestically to cement his legacy. Liverpool are not going to be in the champions league next season and looking at Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Spurs it may take them a few seasons to catch up, especially with the fact that the latter 3 will spend plenty of dosh!!

    I think the biggest storyline to come out of this is the 35 million that Liverpool have paid for Andy Carroll. It makes the Darren Bent deal look like an absolute steal. As good as Carroll is or could be, this transfer just shows how inflated the British transer market is. The fact they paid 23 million for Suarez who has scored umpteen goals in a decent European league, played in the Champions League and looked good at the World Cup, compared to 35 million for a player who has played one season in the Championship, half a season in the Premiership and has a single England cap!! The World has gone mad, well the Liverpool heirachy have!! Its no wonder Sir Alex wont buy big in January!!

    Getting back to the original article, which is a nice one I might add, I actually think Suarez is a good signing for Liverpool, I wouldnt have turned my nose up if he had come to Old Trafford. Uruguay are one of the pioneers of Football, much like England.


  • Comment number 67.

    I wonder if the fouls on Torres this weekend will be in high double figures?

  • Comment number 68.

    An interesting blog as always Tim, though you really should get someone to proof read it for mistakes before you publish.

  • Comment number 69.

    A tip for anyone from the big clubs watching - keep an eye out for Bryan Ruiz from FC Twente (Dutch champions last year and flying high this year too). In contrast to Luis Suarez, this guy is strong and very skillful but more than that, he's an honest player who will give all for his club. Combine Fernando Torres and Peter Crouch and you have a huge talent at what will still be a bargain price. He's a Costa Rican international but would be in the sqaud of all the top world teams

  • Comment number 70.

    There was i thinking this blog was about Suarez and Uruguay, and 80% of the comments are about Torres, Carroll and Chelsea!

  • Comment number 71.

    Now that we have a partnership called Luis-Carroll, let's hope they don't fall down the rabbit hole.... Thank you!

    Losing Torres was always going to hurt, but I think these two will go someway to easing the pain. I believe Luis Suarez will be a great success, however, Carroll is the unproven entity. He is still growing as a player and will surely come good and be a good/great player, but how long that will take is anyone's guess.

    P.S. If you want anyone managing two new strikers, surely it's one of the best strikers ever, Dalglish??

  • Comment number 72.

    @43: "...At last my club is looking to the future, this has been a very good bit of business for LFC, I can't imagine Woy pulling this off..."

    Poor Hodgson was under the mistaken impression that in no-way would the LFC faithful countenace the selling off of any of the Anfield crown jewels: Reina, Gerrard or Torres, and he wouldn't have dared try 'pulling this off'.

    As it turns out, he needn't have worried: that stance never made the fans love him more or at all, even and only time will tell if King Kenny gets away with letting one of those aformentioned talisman go the competition.

  • Comment number 73.

    I think Liverpool were just going for the most unhinged pairing they could think of: Nasher Suarez and Nutter Carroll!

    Both will bag goals for them but £35m for Carroll is a bit of a joke. OK, he'll be around a while, but what else has suggested that it's a good investment? I think Kenny wants to fall back on the old 'big man up front' tactic that worked back in the 80s. When he's fit we'll probably end up seeing the (let's face it) often less talented players take the easy option of pumping long balls up to him rather than build attacks. We shall see.

    £50m for Torres in the current climate is a lot of money too but not unusual to see Chelsea spending it. They've got a ready-made World Class star who is about to reach - what should be - his peak years. From their point of view that's worth the money.

    As for Suarez, as much as Liverpool fans will now defend him, he will forever be the cheat on the goal-line representing the dark side of professional sport. Forward signings from the Dutch League have been a bit of a mixed bag so we'll need to see which sside the coin drops.

  • Comment number 74.

    It would have been interesting to see how Suarez would have got on with Torres. I haven't seen a lot of him, but from what I saw in SA, Forlan is a better player. Of course, WCs have fooled us in the past.

    And I'll probably be proved wrong, but I obviously am missing a lot of what of other people are seeing in players like Carroll. It sounds to me like the same old story of a big lump being "a handful", meaning the ball's going to be up in the air a lot and the defenders are going to know they've been in a battle, a la Duncan Ferguson, but when it comes to the ball on the ground, I don't see AC going on blistering mazey runs with the ball glued to his laces, which for 35m you might expect. Then again, has Kenny gone for the Keegan Toshack perm? Whatever it is, it's a change in tack from Benitez and Hodgson, and sounds like a return to the old days of a 2 pronged attack.

  • Comment number 75.

    eek, £35M for a player who didn't want to come!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/transfers/i-was-forced-out-of-st-jamesrsquo-park-rages-carroll-after-35m-transfer-2200214.html

    KK's observation about the most important players are the ones who want to be here... is that still the case?

  • Comment number 76.

    I see Suarez as a Craig Bellamy type character. Great talent, technique and 'engine' that makes him very determined and hard working. The problem is that engine has some nasty side-effects: on-field/off-field discipline issues, can't keep thier mouth shut, etc...

    The concern with these kind of players is they end up causing conflict in the dressing room and on the training field.

    I guess you have to way up the cost/benefit of having such a player. It seems frequently clubs inevitably decide the benefit of such a talented player is not worth the disruption to the overall team.

    Maybe Suarez will be different but I can just see the headlines now when the Suarez/Carroll partnership hits a London night club...

  • Comment number 77.

    Good post. Who needs Torres when we have Carroll and Suarez

  • Comment number 78.

    I ‘m a Ghanaian and lifelong Liverpool supporter and Suarez’s name will forever be cursed in my beloved Ghana. I remember attending a church service whilst I was on holiday 3 months after world cup finals and the pastor was still cursing his name.
    As a Liverpool supporter I have no conflict in my heart about the purchase of Suarez. I will happily purchase the number 7 shirt with his name boldly emblazed upon the back and wear it with pride.
    Should he prove a worthy purchase to the Liverpool cause like Torres before him, I will name my son Suarez.
    The future is bright…… the future will be RED conquering all domestic and European opposition.

  • Comment number 79.

    I wish Spurs had bought him. He'll turn out to be a bargain at 22 million. Instead we have useless conference-quality Crouch up front to ruin every chance our wonderful midfield creates.

  • Comment number 80.

    I still can't believe the number of people out there who have missed the point over the Suarez incident at the World Cup. The handball has actually covered up probably the worst refereeing decision of the whole World Cup considering it was the quarter-final. It should never have been given.
    There were 2 offsides immediately before it, both involving the no.10 of Ghana. Firstly as the ball was flicked on from the freekick where the no.10 was just offside, to be fair that was a difficult decision due to the movement of players but from that flick on the ball was headed down and at that point the no.10 was miles offside standing only a yard or so from the goal line, he then came back and his shot was then blocked on the line by Suarez before it looped up for the header which was then handled. Both offsides were somehow missed by the officials and also by the TV pundits in the studio, who never even noticed them in the replays. All you have to do is look at the first 2-3 seconds of the video clip to confirm them. The second offside is incredible....how on earth was that missed!
    Of course, if the correct decision had been given, Suarez would not have been sent off and nobody would be talking about any Suarez handball.

  • Comment number 81.

    Suarez? Ooh my goodness. Indeed as a Ghanaian, I will never support Liverpool for buying this player. He is too temperamental and looking at the fans, refeers and players at England, I hope he does not start behaving indecently. Unless he is tame if not, then the thrid handball of Suarez would be their between Chelsea and hope he thinks twice otherwise, I leave him in the hands of Essien, John Terry and Anelka to beat him up.

  • Comment number 82.

    Tim Vickery - Not sure how often you have watched Suarez play but I watch him most weeks here in Holland and I totally disagere with you when you say that he sets up goals for others. Rubbish. He's a very individualistic player who has only one thought when he gets the ball and that is to find a way through to score himself. I've rarely seen him pass the ball, unlike Tevez who sprays passes around as well as scoring.
    The pace of the game in Holland is much more sedate than in England where speed and strength are the main priorities. There is some ferocious tackling in England and Suarez will have to curb his temper. Sometimes a red card in Holland would hardly bring a caution in England.
    I am intrigued by the desire of Suarez to play in England. I think he would have been better suited going to Spain.

  • Comment number 83.

    I wish people would stop comparing what Liverpool paid for Carroll to what Barca paid for David Villa, Villa is a quality player who scores a lot of goals but Carroll is 6 years younger than him. Liverpool are buying potential. Carroll has proven he is almost unplayable on his day so with time Liverpool are hoping for this to be a regular occurrence. I'm not trying to justify the £35m paid but: Liverpool were desperate, Carroll is a good, young player with a lot of potential, Newcastle didn't really want to sell = £35m

  • Comment number 84.

    There are obviously a few angry Ghanaians after Suarez's handball at the world cup.

    Just thinking back I remember a Portuguese winker was hated after a major tournament and he turned into one of the two best players in the world.

    I hope this is not similar scenario. Not for the Ghanaians out there but just because I really dislike Liverpool!!!!!

  • Comment number 85.

    I have read at least 5 comments about the handball incident from the world cup. I can assure you if an England player had done the same we would be celebrating it, and almost every international player would have done the same. Not sure why it keeps getting a mention.

  • Comment number 86.

    I think Suarez will be a success - but Robbie Keane's strength was also making runs on the diagonal, but the midfield didn't make the right passes for him. I hope they've learnt.

  • Comment number 87.

    @ Dave Parker.
    Dislike Liverpool, or dislike Liverpool FC?

  • Comment number 88.

    "huge job for Ancelotti to recruit players who'll put up with Europa League football for a season or 2? sad times ahead for Torres"
    amazing from a fan of club already enjoying Europa League football for a season or 2

  • Comment number 89.

    #87 Fieldsey

    BOTH!!

  • Comment number 90.

    # Fieldsey

    AND YOU AS WELL!!

  • Comment number 91.

    @ Martin (comment 80): you forgot to mention the fact that the two offsides the referees did not see happened after a free kick that should not have been given since it was not a foul!!!

    From a Uruguayan: Good luck to Suarez at Liverpool!

  • Comment number 92.

    Malouda moving to a south american club wouldn't be such a big deal as he is a south american himself.

    Suarez and Carroll are terrible signings and I can't wait to see them both fail. Liverpool are either going to play 4-4-2 without natural wingers and lose the benefit of having a player such as Carroll in their team, or they're going to play 4-3-3 and waste Suarez out wide.

    I hope to god that I'm right and Liverpool crash and burn. There isn't a worse club supported by a worse bunch of fans in not only English football, but world football.

  • Comment number 93.

    Luis Suarez has a knack for scoring very nice goals in abundance and plays with more heart than most, but honestly, he is my least favorite of the top Uruguayan strikers because of the constant diving. That said, I still enjoy following him, and now I have a reason to watch the EPL. I just hope he learns to not dive so much. Forlan and Cavani seem to play with more dignity. Anyway, I hope Suarez does for Liverpool as what Cavani has done for Napoli, which means a top position for the club in standings, and lead the league in goals.
    #80 - Coming from a Uruguayan, I was so mad when the offsides weren't called. I remember Abreu pleaing to the ref but no call. Uruguay was up against not only Ghana, but also FIFA. Everybody wanted to see an African team in the semis. I also do believe that Suarez would have been the key to beating the Dutch in the semis, as he excelled against them in their own league. What a shame. On that note, instead of Ghanaians cursing Suarez for eternity, they should really focus on practicing their penalty shots, as they only have themselves to blame for missing them.


  • Comment number 94.

    Good business for Liverpool I think. Firstly, they've got rid of a player who didn't want to play for them and couldn't hack the physical side of the Premiership. Secondly, they've signed two of the game's most promising young strikers. If Carroll makes a quick recovery I can see Liverpool pipping Chelsea for fourth spot.

  • Comment number 95.

    by the way Luis Suárez is the best
    http://www.clubasterianetwork.com

  • Comment number 96.

    Tim,

    Why do you think Suarez will do better than Afonso Alves?

    He scored more than a goal a game, in a poorer outfit than Ajax, and couldn't buy a goal?

    What makes him different or better?

  • Comment number 97.

    Hopefully next week we can get this blog back on topic about South Amrican football rather than turning it into a discussion of Liverpool, Chelsea and Ghana!

    What about some discussion on the South American U20 tournament whose final round started last night? Uruguay beat Colombia 1-0 with a cracking 30 meter free kick by Adrian Luna, Ecuador surprised Argentina 1-0 on a header by Edson Montaño after which Argentina's Juan Manuel Iturbe mised a penalty kick and Brazil beat Chile 5-1 turning a 1-1 halftime tie into a rout. Neymar with 2 goals and Sao Paulo's impressive Lucas with another.

  • Comment number 98.

    @bigdaddyE
    Because he was a Ajax player. Even if they have a off day, they can still play great game of positioning. Alves only had technique, Suarez has technique and knows where to stand and run. You can look at any ex-ajax player and see that in there play. Just look at vd Vaart, Sneijder, Heitinga, Bergkamp, Seedorf, Overmars, Kluivert, Huntelaar, Zlatan Ibrahimović. All youth products of ajax. Why does a club on a limited budget get more successful youth players then any other club. Because of there teachings, thats why Suarez will do better then Alves.

  • Comment number 99.

    People think the 35 million for Carroll is crazy. Utd bought Rooney for 30 mil and he was the same standard as Andy. I feel this is a good deal as 35 mil now is like 25 mil then. Good deal me feels

  • Comment number 100.

    As a Liverpool fan I followed the debate and agree Suarez is a very good player. Time will tell with Carrol.

    More interesting are the comments from #4 & #19 relating to youth football.

    Totally agree with #19. If we are to produce future talent in this country than we have to let the boys enjoy the game. Let them try anything and let them make mistakes.
    In this country 10 year old boys are thrust on to mammoth 11 a side pitches and they get lost and become uninterested.
    The way forward is to let them play small sided games and coach the fundamentals (passing, ball control and ball manipulation) in a fun atmosphere. No pressure to win, no mammoth pitches and no constant sreanming in their ears.

    The whole concept of youth development in this country needs a radical change. Fortunatly Trevor Brooking is trying to implement these changes but it remains to be seen if the old guard at grass roots level either on a Sunday morning or at club level are going to listen.

    If all goes well in 10 years England will have an abundance of players with great technical ability.

    Sorry to go off topic!

 

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