As Sturridge moves centre stage, will Suarez be just a side show?
Imagine going on holiday from your office, and returning to find someone sitting at your desk. It’s the desk you always sit at; the one by the window with a view over the park. It has the chair that you have set up just perfectly for you. Now the boss is telling you that whilst you were away, someone else has been doing your job so well, that he wants to reassign you slightly. That’s your new desk over there he said. It’s the one against the side of the office over there. No window. No sunlight. No accustomed work. Everything’s different.
It’s not quite the same thing, but if rumours are to be believed, this is slightly analogous to the situation that Luis Suarez will face on his return from his enforced exile, following the infamous biting incident last season.
In his absence, Daniel Sturridge has flourished in the central striking role that he always craved. Notching five goals in four games this season has apparently made the young England forward ‘undropable.’ Liverpool fans may have viewed the first few games of the season nervously. Playing without their apparently talismanic Uruguayan striker was going to be difficult, and some may have wondered where the goals were going to come from. Sturridge has answered all of those questions, and put such fears to bed. Some may even be wondering whether it would have been better to let Suarez leave after all, and use the money to reinvest in the squad.
The situation is further clouded for Suarez by the developing relationship between Sturridge and young Brazilian playmaker Coutinho. The 21 year old has quickly established a flourishing relationship with Sturridge that, even in its nascent form, has produced goals and promises more of the same to come. It’s no surprise then that manager Brendan Rodgers is loath to break up something that is serving him so well and it’s unlikely therefore that Coutinho will be moved from the ‘number ten’ role, tucked in behind Sturridge. The upshot of this of course is that once Suarez is available for selection, it seems likely that he will be shunted out to a wider position.
Of late, Suarez has been seen to be moving towards a rapprochement with Liverpool, and the fans. Letting it be known that for weeks he had realised that he was staying at Anfield and was prepared to settle down and work at the club was a good start, but one is left to wonder how he will react to being viewed as a sideshow, whilst Sturridge is centre stage.
Reading the runes at any club is always difficult, and discerning a player’s reaction to unforeseen developments is even more so. Given Suarez’s reported plaintive calls for a transfer over the summer however, if the situation continues with him compelled to play in a wide position, a renewal of the desire to move on from Anfield in January cannot be ruled out. Should that happen, and Sturridge and Coutinho are continuing to produce and flourish, the Anfield hierarchy may take a less intransigent view of ceding to his request.
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