Oh how we thought Liverpool were cutting off their nose to spite their face during the transfer window when Arsenal bid £40m plus £1 in an attempt to capture then want-away problem child Luis Suarez. Why, we thought, didn't Liverpool take the money and run ?
The answer, of course, is now plain for all to see - Suarez is worth far more than £40m on the open market (would even a £100m valuation currently be unrealistic ?), but to Liverpool he is surely priceless.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers surely knew what he was doing when he dug his heels in as Suarez positioned himself in every way possible to attempt to engineer a move away from the club that had supported him so well through his difficult times. And we all thought it was simply about the principle of the thing - Liverpool stuck by Suarez, so it was time that Suarez returned the favour. But it was more than that - much more.
Liverpool and Rodgers knew that, with Suarez in the team, the club had more than a good chance of bagging a top 4 finish this year, getting back into Europe and becoming a force to be reckoned with once again. In fact, it's not too dramatic to say that Suarez's presence at the club for the foreseeable future could help define Liverpool's future for the next 20 years, as the club builds on its current successes.
And, in terms of forgiveness, you would forgive Suarez anything the way he has performed since he returned from his biting ban - he has helped Liverpool sustain their early season form (without him) and to look like true top four (if not higher) contenders.
Just how far Liverpool have come in a few weeks can be seen by comparing the club with Arsenal. A few weeks back, the prospect of playing for Arsenal appeared appealing to Suarez, now even he would surely think twice, as the momentum is all with Liverpool - as we may find out at the Emirates later today, when many think that an in-form Suarez could propel Liverpool to victory and all 3 points.
Liverpool and Rodgers deserve a huge pat on the back for the way that they dealt with Suarez's attempt to move away. And we could look back in 20 years and see the club's stance over this affair was a turning point in its history.
image: © dannymol