Luis Suarez vs Fernando Torres: Why Liverpool Are In A Better Position This Time Around

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Comparisons can be drawn between Liverpool’s sale of Fernando Torres in 2011, and the departure of Luis Suarez this summer… 

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For the second time in three and a half years, Liverpool have sold their star striker for a huge, club record transfer fee.

In January 2011, when Fernando Torres shocked the entire Premier League with his deadline day move to Chelsea, Liverpool were left in turmoil.

A club, already in decline after finishing in seventh place during the 2009-10 season, their worst league performance in eleven years, had lost their star player, and – with next to no time to make an informed decision – had hastily reinvested the money in a relatively unproven, young English striker in Andy Carroll, who had played for less than six months at the top level of English football.

When Liverpool finished in second place in the Premier League in the summer of 2009, their team was heavily reliant on the Torres partnership with club captain Steven Gerrard, and reports at the time constantly debated the club’s supposed decline in performance when one or both of the players were absent.

Three further seasons of obscurity followed for the Anfield club after the sale of Torres, with sixth, eighth and seventh place finishes under Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers, a harsh transition period that saw one of the countries most famous club sides miss out on Champions League football for four years.

The key difference this time around with the sale of Suarez, in addition to the extra £25m in the bank, is that Liverpool have allowed their star man to leave on their own terms.

Last time around, it felt like Liverpool were left somewhat in the dark regarding Torres’ desire to leave, and were in a state of shock when the Spaniard forced through a move to London.

This time, the move comes as no such surprise. Club officials at Anfield were perfectly aware of the Uruguayan’s long standing desire to move to one of the Spanish giants – be it Barcelona or Real Madrid.

Indeed, when Suarez signed his new Liverpool contract last year, it was designed in such a way as to protect the Reds from losing their main man to a domestic rival, as they almost did last summer when Arsenal made their £40m and £1 bid.

This time last year, Gerrard was furiously trying to talk Suarez out of leaving the club. This year, he knows there is no need. Suarez has fired Liverpool back to Champions League football, and played a key role in reestablishing the club as a competitor for major domestic honours – after they narrowly missed out on a maiden Premier League title last year.

Suarez may have bagged an impressive 31 Premier League goals last season, but that was as part of a Liverpool team that scored over 100 goals, and were equally impressive during his suspension for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

Rodgers has assembled a squad of fresh, young talent. When Torres departed Anfield, it left the club in a mess – exposing other players that were perhaps not good enough to succeed on their own.

This time around, Suarez leaving could give the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling  the chance to progress and establish themselves as the new star man.

Liverpool will have been well aware that Suarez was bound to leave their club this summer. Having accepted that fact they have already began reinvesting their money with the signings of Southampton duo Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can. These players have time to settle in with a pre-season campaign, and more signings could well be on the horizon.

Anfield has lost it’s hero, and arguably one of the most talented players to have ever pulled on the Liverpool shirt. But they have also sold a player who will turn 28-years-old in January, a player with a reputation for controversy who is banned for the next four months, and they have made him the third most expensive player of all time.

Liverpool will be disappointed – from its club officials, to its manager, from its players, to its fans, they will be sad to see their icon leave. But if they are realistic, they will know that they have done good business, and that they have every reason to be optimistic for the coming season.

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