It would be naïve to think Liverpool are safe from a sale of Luis Suarez this summer. It would be naïve to think that the achievement of reclaiming Champions League football is enough to totally convince the player to stay at Anfield into next season.
Bottom line is Suarez doesn’t owe anything to Liverpool. That’s just the way football works. The argument is there that he may indeed stay because of top European football next season and due to the fact Liverpool were narrowly beaten to the Premier League title last season. But if that’s the case, there should be another line of thinking asking why he would turn down Real Madrid.
What can Suarez get at Liverpool that Real Madrid can’t offer? Surely he’ll be asking himself that question. Fans in England should also be aware of the allure of clubs like Real for South Americans. Even if Liverpool had won the league title last season, it would be impossible for anyone to state categorically that he’d be playing his football at Anfield next season. It probably would have been easier to make the case that his chapter with the club has come to an end.
Liverpool’s need is greater than that of Real Madrid’s, but that doesn’t matter. Suarez would have no trouble walking into Carlo Ancelotti’s starting XI at the Bernabeu. Karim Benzema would likely angle for a move away upon word that the Uruguayan’s arrival was imminent. And let’s ask how many players wouldn’t want to join Real Madrid at this time. They’ve just been crowned European Champions for a tenth time. With the obsession of gaining the tenth and how it engulfed the club for the past 12 years, it’s fair to say that it’s an easier job getting from 10 to 11 than it is getting from nine to 10.
Liverpool, in the minds of most, have an exciting future ahead. But there are doubters. Who’s to say Suarez isn’t one of them? His reaction following the draw at Crystal Palace said a lot. We can interpret it in any number of ways, one being that this past season was Liverpool’s best chance at the title in years and that it may not be possible to mount such a challenge again next season due to various factors.
And what about the turnaround last summer? Suarez looked as good as out the door 12 months ago, but someone, or a small group of people at the club, convinced him otherwise. That’s not abnormal. We saw at with Manchester United and Ronaldo, Arsenal and Cesc Fabregas, and, to an extent, Tottenham and Gareth Bale. Each got one more season out of their star player before allowing him to move on. There isn’t a rule to say this is exactly the same situation that’s playing out at Anfield, but at the same time there isn’t anything to say it isn’t.
If Real Madrid come calling – and Florentino Perez will surely want to further embellish the club’s Champions League win – it may be impossible to convince Suarez to stay on for one more year. The Champions League plays a large part, but this is also a player who doesn’t have a title win to his name, at least not in the way he would like. Ajax won the Eredivisie title in 2011, but Suarez departed the club in January of that year. His winner’s medal came from having played in 13 league games for the club that season.
If Liverpool are truly back in the top four as regulars, it is in large part due to the efforts of Suarez last season. So can they really deny him the chance to move abroad to a club like Real? The player certainly won’t feel obliged to stick around as some kind of favour to the club.