Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Carragher insists time was right to cash in on troubled player

Had to go: Jamie Carragher says it was the right decision to sell Suarez

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes it was the right time for the club to sell controversial striker Luis Suarez.

The Reds have agreed a club-record fee of £75m with Barcelona for the 27-year-old Uruguay international, who will have his medical ahead of signing a five-year contract next week.

Carragher played alongside Suarez for two and a half years before retiring last summer and admits that while it is a blow to lose a striker who scored 82 goals in 133 appearances, it was the end of the road for him at Anfield after he incurred a four-month ban for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup – his third lengthy suspension while a player at the club.

"Luis was the best LFC player I played with bar (Steven) Gerrard. Gutted he's gone but was inevitable he would go to Spain one day," Carragher wrote on Twitter.

"It was the right time for everyone he wanted to go we got a good price considering incident at WC (World Cup).

"I would sign one striker as we have (Rickie) Lambert and hopefully a promising Belgian (Lille's Divock Origi) alongside Sturridge – you need four.

"I like (Wilfried) Bony but with all attacking mdf's (midfielders) looks like it will be one striker most of the time. Sturridge main man, so price important."

Former Reds midfielder Dietmar Hamann was of a similar opinion.

"Glad the Suarez saga is over. Not surprised how it ended. The club will be better off without him," he wrote on Twitter.

Former Liverpool captain Phil Thompson is confident his old team will cope with the loss of their world-class striker.

"A Luis Suarez in your side is always going to make your side far better," he said.

"He might have been the best player in the world the way he played last year.

"He was absolutely superb and it was wonderful to have him playing for Liverpool and to be a star.

"We made him a superstar. Suarez gave everything for the cause and certainly helped Liverpool get Champions League football.

"It's not just about one man. It was a tremendous season and a lot of people came to the fore with a different brand of football.

"With or without Luis Suarez, I'm quite sure that will take place. It's whether we get the goals again.

"But Liverpool Football Club has been surviving over the years. I go back to watching Roger Hunt and Ian St John and then along came Kevin Keegan and along came Kenny Dalglish and along came Ian Rush.

"You were always worrying if there'll be someone else, but sooner or later there is a superstar.

"Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler came along and then Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez.

"There have been great players and this football club will always move on any way. Yes, it will be a loss without Suarez and his ability but I'm quite sure we are in good hands, as long as we spend the money right."

Gerrard, who rates Suarez as the best individual he has played alongside, posted his own tribute on Instagram alongside a picture of the pair celebrating together.

"On an emotional day for me would just like to say what a pleasure it has been playing with an amazing talent such as Luis," he wrote.

"I would like to thank him for his outstanding contribution on the pitch during his time @liverpoolfc and to wish him and his family all the best on his new adventure in Spain. £lfclegend."

Rodgers had hoped to land Chile forward Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona to replace Suarez, but the 25-year-old instead opted to join Arsenal for a fee thought to be around £35m

Thompson has backed the Liverpool manager to spend the money wisely and insists Sanchez has made a mistake by signing for a team that finished two places below his former club last season.

"He has chosen to go to Arsenal for whatever means and that will be down to him," he added.

"He doesn't realise what he has missed by not coming to Liverpool; the passion and the power that comes with playing for LFC, and the worldwide recognition that he would have.

"He's chosen to go to London and I think that will have been a big draw and I think that would have been the marquee signing.

"Arsenal have got that, but I like what Brendan Rodgers is doing. He's looking now for the quality players that fit in with his vision for Liverpool Football Club and that is what he's trying to get right.

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