This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Jamie Carragher has been speaking about previous encounters between Liverpool and Chelsea, and believes Luis Suarez’s actions in the 2013 clash ended up costing his team the title.
The event the former Reds player is referring to is of course the match when Suarez bit Branislav Ivanovic, and action which resulted in an eight-match ban, causing the Urugyuan to miss Liverpool’s opening five games of the following season.
Of those games, Liverpool dropped points against Southampton and Swansea, opponents Carragher claims Liverpool could and probably would have been beaten with Suarez in the side, so the striker cost them the title, given they lost it by only two points.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Carragher said: “Suarez was banned for five or six games. Liverpool lost the league, I think, on goal difference.
“If Suarez is playing, they probably win both of them, but let’s be conservative, you beat Southampton at home – you don’t realise at the time, [but] looking back now, and the season he had the next year … I think if he’d been playing in those games it would’ve been different.”
Whilst Carragher is incorrect about the points gap, Suarez was the standout player that season, as evidenced by him winning the Players’ Player of the Year and the Football Writers’ Player of the Year, and any team would have missed a player of his quality.
Given his record, it is harsh for Carragher to suggest Suarez cost Liverpool the title, as they wouldn’t have been in the position to win it without him in the team, and it is a somewhat controversial reflection on a player who scored 82 goals in 133 appearances for the club.
Now, Liverpool are better placed under Jurgen Klopp.
There are key players in all areas of the squad, and even with one of the front three unavailable the team wouldn’t be too severely affected due to the quality of the others.
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Liverpool lacked that in 2013/14. Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling all played major roles, but they lacked the dynamism of Suarez, who won many games of his own and finished the season with 31 Premier League goals in 33 matches.
He also contributed 17 assists, and therefore the Reds were more dependent on him for goals than they are on any current player, even Mo Salah.