By Chris Wright
Aside from continuing his sworn duty to educate his players, nurse their key pass completion rates and fight for his life for the people of Liverpool, capeless crusader Brendan Rodgers has largely spent his summer repeatedly batting away questions about Luis Suarez upping sticks and doing one over the summer.
Suarez has, on several occasions now, flirted with openly stating he wishes to move on, mithering about the hounding he gets from the horrid English media whenever he strays into cannibalism, etc and lamenting about the hardships of “watching the Premier League every week with no chance of winning it” as he continues to shuffle toward the Anfield fire exit.
Speaking in Jakarta, Rodgers told journalists that he believes Suarez will stay at the club as the Uruguayan is indebted to Liverpool; not specifically the club itself, but the fans and the players who have backed him unreservedly despite his myriad transgressions.
“It’s not about me or the club, I think it’s the supporters and his team-mates [he owes something to] for what they gave him,” Rodgers told the Indonesian press hordes. “They have stood by him through thick and thin, and through all the traumas he has gone through over the last couple of seasons.
“If there is anyone he owes it’s [the Liverpool fans] and his team-mates, who have fought beside him.”
And lo, we come to the BIG question: Does Luis Suarez owe a debt of gratitude to Liverpool, and should that be enough to tether him to the club?
You could feasibly argue that, with 44 goals in 85 games over two-and-a-half seasons and a long series of nigh-on solo match-winning performances in a team he was blatantly far too good for and only a measly Carling Cup and a smattering of upper-mid-table finishes to show for it, Suarez has already more than paid his dues at Liverpool.
He’s clearly playing below his station (surely all lucid Liverpool fans would agree?) and, for a player of his calibre, drive and ambition, there’s only so much time you can spend treading water and getting nowhere – especially as, at 26, he moves into his peak years.
As much as we harp on about his desperately irritating conduct, we certainly wouldn’t begrudge Suarez (a genuinely thrilling player when he’s in his “Dr Jeckyll” mode) a move to a team with genuine designs on winning something significant – but then we’re not Liverpool supporters.
Pray tell, what’s the consensus out there?