Of course, it’s one thing for a player to say verbally commit himself to a club, it’s quite another for him to actually remain loyal – we’ve all been around the game long enough to know that.
Still, if Luis Suarez keeps to his word, and stays at Anfield regardless of Champions League qualification, then he does – regardless of what you may think of him – deserve some recognition for that.
“But I want to say now that, if you want to know what will happen to me if we don’t qualify for the Champions League, then I will say this: I have a contract with Liverpool and I am very happy here. I will stay.”
It’s sad that we feel obliged to applaud players for even the simplest displays of loyalty, but that’s the state of the modern game unfortunately. How many times have players used the ‘need for Champions League football’ as a reason to move clubs; it’s maddening. It’s never about playing six extra games a season in a different competition, it’s about the financial resources available to those clubs who are taking part in it and the size of contract they’re able to offer their players.
There are many clubs in this country who, had they been in Liverpool’ position, would have cut ties with Suarez before now. Regardless of his on-pitch performances, Liverpool have endured some fairly negative PR as a result of some of the Uruguayan’s alleged behaviour, and they’ve shown a lot of faith in him through the various troubling episodes that he’s been involved with. Whether you’ve agreed with the club’s stance or not, it’s undeniable that they’ve consistently stood behind their player – and that warrants reciprocation from him. Even when Brendan Rodgers publicly criticised him for his comments about diving, that was really just a question of saying ‘the right thing’ for the benefit of the watching world rather than a genuine scolding of the player.
Hopefully Suarez keeps his word, he owes Liverpool – and actually, why shouldn’t he? He fits perfectly into the side which is being built, and this club is, finally, taking some very obvious steps forward. He wouldn’t be doing Liverpool a favour, he has the chance to be part of a exciting rejuvenation.