Liverpool: Why Luis Suarez Will Have a Bigger Impact Than Fernando Torres Could
In particular, both players left their teams because they felt they could not achieve their career goals at that team.
Torres came to Liverpool in the summer of 2007, which was just after Liverpool lost in the Champions League final to A.C. Milan. He could see they would be competing for top honors, so he would never need to leave that club solely because Liverpool could offer him a chance to win titles.
However, in January, Torres left to join Chelsea because he felt Liverpool was going through a rebuilding period and he could not sacrifice the best years of his career trying to build Liverpool up to where it once was, rather than adding titles to its history.
James left Cleveland after seven years at the Cavaliers because he felt like the Cavaliers could not build a team in which he could win titles. Both players left their respective teams because of ambition, and while James will be playing in the NBA Finals this season, Torres' Chelsea squad did not win any titles this campaign.
As Torres was leaving Liverpool, Luis Suarez was on his way in from Ajax and finished the season looking like one of the best players in the Barclays Premier League.
Two reasons Luis Suarez will have a bigger impact on Liverpool's ability to succeed than Fernando Torres ever could:
1. The arrival of Fenway Sports Group, Kenny Dalglish, and Damien Comolli, has drastically changed the transfer policy from that of Hicks and Gillett as well as Rafa Benitez.
2. There has been a significant change in the style of play from when Rafa Benitez managed the team to now with Kenny Dalglish, which has resulted from changes in the squad and in the management.
Read on for more on these big changes.
Change in Transfer Policy
When Rafa Benitez took over as manager of Liverpool in 2004, the squad had very few weaknesses and was considered one of the best teams in Europe.
Benitez signed Xabi Alonso during his first summer in charge, which was great because Alonso turned out to be one the best midfielders in the world. However, Benitez thought that Alonso was past his prime, which resulted in Alonso departing to Real Madrid in 2009 after he felt surplus to Liverpool's team.
This was a costly mistake because Benitez attempted to replace him with Alberto Aquilani from Roma, but Aquilani was never fully fit while at Liverpool. Now Liverpool will most likely sell Aquilani for only about half of his original transfer sum.
The transfer saga with Alonso and Aquilani was a perfect example of Benitez's transfer policy: getting rid of quality players and quickly replacing them with over-priced replacements rather than saving money by bargaining or promoting reserve players.
Benitez did bring in some spectacular players like Pepe Reina, Alonso and Torres, but he simply did too little to try to save money on players coming in and drive up the price on players leaving. This left him with a thin squad of quality players and a lot of debt. Unfortunately for Benitez, his system was not sustainable long-term.
Liverpool's transfer policy has significantly changed in just the few months since Fenway Sports Group took over in October of 2010. FSG quickly appointed Damien Comolli to handle player transfers, which reaped rewards when Liverpool signed Luis Suarez for less than half of the amount Liverpool sold Torres for in January.
Now that Kenny Dalglish has a long-term coaching contract, it will be interesting to see the new faces at Liverpool next season.
A Change in Playing Style
Rafa Benitez often played Torres as a solo striker, which burdened him to score nearly all of Liverpool's goals. Even though Torres is an incredible striker who scored over 20 goals in two of his seasons at Liverpool, no striker can sustain superb form for an entire season. Kenny Dalglish understood this, so he pursued Suarez to relieve the burden on Torres.
Unfortunately, these excellent strikers never got to play together.
Suarez is the type of player who makes his teammates look like world-class players. While Suarez was at Ajax he helped Klaas-Jan Huntelaar look like one of the best strikers in the world, but after Huntelaar moved to A.C. Milan he really struggled to find his form.
Suarez's performance at the 2010 World Cup made his teammate Diego Forlan become one of the hottest prospects, but Forlan has also labored to find his form since then. Most recently, Suarez has helped Maxi Rodriguez and Dirk Kuyt to play at their maximum potential.
Suarez's impact has been immense, and it coincided with Dalglish's appointment as manager.
Dalglish's positive influence on the players cannot go without mentioning either. In the short term, Dalglish has given both the reserves and the first team a confidence boost. In the long term, he has implemented a pass-and-possession style of play that will allow Liverpool's players to play to their maximum potential.
Since Dalglish's appointment as manager, Liverpool have scored more goals and have been able to control games. Dalglish's use of reserve players to grow the squad as well as his pass-and-possession style of play will allow Liverpool to stop dropping points against weaker teams.
Liverpool's Resurgence: Finally a Team on the Rise
The arrival of Luis Suarez and the appointment of Kenny Dalglish ensures that Liverpool's lowest point was this past January.
Suarez's playing style, Dalglish's coaching style and FSG's transfer policy will guarantee Suarez will have a bigger impact on Liverpool's success than Torres could while at Liverpool.
Benitez certainly gave his all when he coached Liverpool, but he needed to appoint someone to deal with transfers so he could have focused purely on coaching. In addition, he needed to focus on depth to relieve the goal-scoring burden on Fernando Torres.
Dalglish will play Suarez in a way that he, Carroll and possibly another striker will share the pressure of goal scoring.
Liverpool will be back and fighting for top English honors next season and for the Champions League after that. Chelsea will be competing as well, but with their trouble finding a stable coach and striking a balance between that coach’s influence and Abromovich’s influence, it will be very difficult for them to succeed.
Without European soccer, Liverpool will focus on finishing in the top four, and potentially winning the title, while Chelsea will attempt to win in England as well as Europe.
If Chelsea does not find the right coach, then there is a chance that Liverpool will finish in the top four while Torres and his Chelsea teammates finish just short. Torres’ decision will look like a mistake, but I will always welcome him back at Liverpool.