Why new Suarez contract shows Liverpool are back on the rise

The controversial striker has inked a new deal to end rampant speculation, with heavy implications for his current employers.

It’s now been nearly three years since Luis Suarez moved to Liverpool from Ajax in January 2011 to the tune of £22.8m; three years full of incident, both positive and negative, for better or for worse.

Kenny Dalglish, installed just weeks before the Uruguayan’s arrival at Anfield in the wake of Roy Hodgson’s departure from the club “by mutual consent”, wouldn’t find the same type of success he had in his first spell on the bench and faced the sack despite his legendary status, to be replaced by Brendan Rodgers.

Suarez’s spell at the club has been marked by poor Premier League finishes, the best he’s witnessed being sixth place in his abbreviated first term on Merseyside, in turn devoid of such-craved Champions League football.

Add in two lengthy bans over a race row and second biting incident of his career and there’s plenty to discuss on top of the impressive 68 goals he’s scored in just 108 appearances in a Liverpool shirt.

The Reds weathered the tumultuous summer period amidst a cheeky bid from Arsenal, the striker’s claims that an agreement concerning participation in Europe’s elite competition had been reneged on by the club and repeated appeals by Gunners supporters to break the bank in January to secure Suarez’s services.

And now, with Rodgers’ men sitting in second place three weeks into December, a new £200,000 per week deal has been signed into action.

Don’t look down, but things are finally starting to turn around for an iconic side that are still yet to come away with a domestic title in the Premier League era.

For one, the money has gone to the right place. The £20m stumped up for Stewart Downing? Never to be seen again. Andy Carroll’s £35m? Gone.

But it was time to move on from such mistakes as soon as they turned out to be, well, blunders, just for the sake of word variation.

Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski discussed the phenomenon of the importance of lucrative contracts over lavish transfer fees in Soccernomics, and it looks as if Liverpool have taken heed.

The type of form Suarez is in at the moment could lift any side to loftier heights than without, though it is his importance as part of Rodgers’ functioning unit that is his true value.

Few can set a match ablaze in the way that the Uruguay international can, and with Philippe Coutinho enjoying his football around him, the burgeoning partnership with the now-injured Daniel Sturridge and an economically reinforced back line that features the promise of homegrown Jon Flanagan, the right combination looks to have been found at Anfield.

The mere fact that Suarez chose to renew is a testament to his own faith in the current project and if such a vital cog can agree just months after seemingly hoping for a departure, volumes have been spoken about viability going forward.

Plenty of football remains to be played in the long season, with the December 26 contest against Manchester City shaping up to be a particularly important benchmark for Liverpool, though it’s a sign of the times that the coveted forward has extended and should provide the squad with an extra confidence boost.

Following years of frustration, the Reds are finally back on track. The opportunity to return to the top level still must be seized, but one would be hard-pressed to say that it’s not there.

Whilst all the attention is heaped on Suarez’s new deal itself, it’s the underlying implications that actually speak the loudest on Merseyside at present. Rodgers has the tools to usher in a new era, and now all must wait and see what it is he does with them.

image: © ruairaigh

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