But then, in stoppage time, Luis Suarez set up an Iago Aspas goal. And everything about the goal—the brilliance by Suarez in setting it up, his subdued reaction afterwards and what that reaction surely means—is nothing short of heartbreaking for Liverpool fans.
First, the goal. Sit back and enjoy.
Few players could make that play and could render two defenders about as effective as a windbreaker during a tornado. It's the sort of brilliance that—combined with some nice signings this offseason—normally would have Liverpool fans giddy to start the season.
But then there was the, uh, "celebration" by Suarez afterwards. Let's just say his enthusiasm after the play wasn't exactly infectious.
And in watching that, one thing is very clear—Suarez does not, under any circumstances, want to play for Liverpool this season. He's checked out folks, and while he'll still perform when he's on the pitch—with the World Cup on the horizon, he can't afford to fall out of form—he is not going to do so as a happy camper.
The club has to ask itself some questions. Does it really want an unhappy superstar? How much will Suarez's attitude affect his teammates? Why not take the money and run?
It's not as though this is somehow unexpected. Suarez literally said he wanted to leave nearly two months ago, and reiterated that earlier this month.
And it's not as though big money isn't being tossed in Liverpool's direction. Arsenal reportedly made a cheeky bid of £40,000,001 per The Telegraph, knowing it would force Liverpool to inform Suarez of the offer based on an odd clause in his contract.
Liverpool outright rejected that offer, and the team's owner, John W. Henry, didn't seem to take Arsenal's offer too seriously.
What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?— John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) July 24, 2013
It's more likely Liverpool want somewhere in the range of £50-55 million for Suarez.
But things seem as though they are about to get really interesting, as Suarez looks likely to hand in a formal transfer request and push for a move to Arsenal, per Wayne Veysey of Goal.com:
So yes, it does seem safe to read into Suarez's reaction on Wednesday morning against Melbourne Victory. It's hard to imagine a scenario at this point where Suarez opens the season wearing a Liverpool kit once his suspension ends.
Suarez traveled with his teammates for Liverpool's friendly tour. It's starting to look a lot less likely he'll return with them.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets never sulk. That being said, they also want to play for Arsenal.