Liverpool vs Arsenal: Should Suarez Have Been Left to Save the Day?
Arguably both Pepe Reina and Arsenal's keeper Szczesny kept the drought of goals going until Aaron Ramsey's freak own goal. Yet you couldn't help but feel on Liverpool's behalf that they missed their new star player in the starting lineup.
What a contrast this was though to their opening game against Sunderland, where for all their power, strength and attacking progress in the first half, they could not hide the lack of momentum lost in the second.
Luis Suarez started against Sunderland and his pivotal role was highlighted by his early goal which thankfully subverted the embarrassment of his woeful penalty kick.
Therefore, you wonder what the game at the Emirates would have evolved into had he started.
Would Liverpool have run out of steam in similar fashion against Arsenal? Would they have been punished for failing to keep the momentum going? Or would they have increased the interlinking nature that many have remarked upon developing, claiming an early advantage in the process and taking the game beyond Arsenal's reach?
Tactically, Dalglish certainly run the risk. Leaving Suarez on the bench proved handy when both himself and Meireles came on and immediately began causing havoc in their opponents' penalty area.
But what if they had been brought on in a scenario where the game was already dead and buried? Could Suarez have saved the day then or would it have been a challenge too far? Certainly there was an element of luck in Liverpool's win. The own goal will haunt Ramsey in the short term and Suarez has been judged marginally offside by some in both of Liverpool's late goals.
I can't help but feel that the gamble may not pay off if he is left on the bench for future games. Especially if it is against top half competition.
Manchester City, for example, appear to be in goal heaven amidst their intelligent and inspired new signings. Liverpool do not want a repeat of their dire first half against City from last season where clinical finishing played a part in their 3-0 loss.
It could be that a little patience is all that is required.
Andy Carroll could well start to get the goals flowing. His forceful header, wonderfully saved in the first half, gave a glimpse of what he is capable of. With weaker opposition in front of the net, he may have broken the deadlock.
Additionally, you can supply Dalglish credit for his opinion that the new squad members such as Downing, Henderson and Adam need the time to 'gel.' They can build towards a starting lineup where they can win matches without Suarez. In instances where the Uruguayan then features, it will only add to their potential.
For now however, it should be imperative to see Suarez at the kickoff as often as possible if Liverpool are to instate themselves as Top Four and maybe even title contenders.
At the end of the day, a squad in transition needs a proven hero in Luis Suarez to prove that they can compete at the levels to win games for the full 90 minutes.
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