Down here in Liverpool the red half of the city reveres Louis Suarez. They see it as no surprise that Liverpool FC achieved their highest ever PL position, not to mention winning the League cup and making the FA cup final, when he was there. They don’t forget he was their highest scorer for three consecutive seasons. But what they seem to remember more than this, or his undoubted skill, is his will to win. During his time at Liverpool Louis Suarez fought for everything, never gave up and lifted the team around him. He deserves massive respect for that and he still gets it.
This should really have preceded Malcolm Dawson’s short, timely piece on the Luis Suarez biting incident. Monsieur Salut had assorted domestic crises, a heavy extractor fan falling in the middle of the night to smash the hob and my Mac’s refusal to accept the valid password for wifi access being only two of them. So here, out of sequence but welcome, are Jeremy Robson‘s thoughts on footballer’s teeth invading footballer’s flesh …
Callum Huckle is one of the younger generation of Liverpool supporters, born too late to remember the glory days of the seventies, but old enough to celebrate the 2005 EUFA Cup win with a soaking. An admirer of tactical developments within the game, he sees good things in both Brendan Rodgers and Jordan Henderson and is confident that even if we send out eleven items of assorted seaside paraphernalia, Liverpool will be far too strong to ever feel threatened by the boys from Wearside.
M. Salut put the usual assortment of questions to him.
Salut! Sunderland: What a result at Old Trafford. The Sturridge dive marred it a bit for me, and I was delighted to see the penalty missed, but you looked good in all positions, How has Rodgers achieved it?
Callum: Obviously I can’t officially condone any of Sturridge’s behaviour but seeing as we won in United’s back yard and Vidic got sent off I may just have to look the other way this time! Rodgers started out with a pretty rigid system and philosophy concerned with keeping possession at all costs and I think the reason we’ve come so far, this season especially, is that he’s shown a good level of pragmatism. He now knows that possession isn’t the best option against every opponent and a prime example is the sublime counter-attacking football we used to beat Arsenal 5 – 1.
And did Jordan Henderson have to win you over or did you always see his worth?
He did have to win me over, yes. However I never really thought Dalglish was correct in deploying him out wide on the right, it felt like a bit of a waste and I think it’s a shame he never got more playing time in the middle in his first season. Now though I couldn’t be happier with the progress he’s made and a lot of credit has to go to Rodgers as well for trying so hard with him.
Unlike Sturridge, Suarez stayed up when in the past he’d have gone down. Is he a reformed man?
I don’t particularly think so, he’s still going to try and win at all costs that’s just his nature but it’s nice to see him trying to atone a little. Staying up does need to be a bigger part of his game as he’s clearly one of the worlds best on the ball and lying down for no reason won’t help him score.
Let us put you straight on the spot: what will be the top four in order?
Conservative estimate is Chelsea, Man City, Us, Arsenal.. Third and missing the qualifying round would be unbelievable!
And who – he said, asking for trouble – is going down?
Fulham and Cardiff – just don’t see anything about them that makes me think they’ll up. Norwich is my shout for third as their run in is just unbelievably hard and if they don’t get any points before then they’ll be toast! (Answered before Saturday’s capitulation – ed.)
Any happy, sad, amusing memories of past encounters between our clubs?
It has to be Beachball-gate! Now it’s passed and doesn’t matter so much you can’t help but laugh at it.
Any thoughts on Sunderland, the club, the fans, the region?
Not to grovel too much but you guys easily get my pick over Newcastle. Pardew is a nightmare and I love what Poyet is doing with the team at the moment, nice to see Borini get a run of games. I have one Newcastle friend and his face the last few times you’ve beaten them, especially the 3 – 0s at their place has been absolutely priceless!
Is Brendan Rodgers the man to restore Liverpool to past glory and how happy are now you with the ownership status?
So far there is just so little to complain about with Rodgers that I don’t see why he can’t. He learns from his mistakes very well and seems committed to improving individuals as well as the whole team. Can’t fault the ownership either, handled Suarez expertly and the direction our finances are going in is a huge boost.
Plenty to choose from but who is or are the greatest player/s you have seen in Liverpool colours (or wish you’d seen)?
Had the pleasure of meeting John Aldridge and Jason McAteer at a legends evening the other night and they were fantastic – wish I was a little older and could have experienced the glory days in full swing.
And who should have been allowed nowhere Anfield?
Roy Hodgson. Shouldn’t have been let anywhere near the England setup either!
Your own highs and lows as a supporter? I suspect Istanbul may figure in your reply.
I was on holiday in America for Istanbul and I remember jumping in the pool fully clothed when my Dad told me what happened. Low point has got to be when I saw a ‘Liverpool will be relegated this season’ facebook page a few years back – the future didn’t look very bright at all.
Which aspect of the modern game appals you most – and does anything inspire you?
Inspiration? – I think it’s got to be getting into football tactics and coaching more as Tiki-Taka has developed – seeing all the ways coaches have tried to counter it and then seeing people completely out do it with new styles like Bayern did last year. I take a lot of inspiration from seeing relatively young coaches like Rodgers, Klopp and Villas-Boas doing fantastic work right at the top. Just as a disclaimer I think Spurs were definitely wrong to sack AVB.
Brazil: getting excited or not too bothered?
Getting massively excited, every four years I’ve learnt more about the game and players and then seeing all the best talent come together in one place is amazing. Would love to see Spain go to South America and dominate.
Will you be there for our game? What will be the score?
I won’t unfortunately but I’ll be watching it after work. With the utmost respect I’m going to go for a 3 or 4 – 1; we’re just playing too well at the moment and we don’t have anything else to go for but the title.
Tell me something about yourself: who you are, what you do, your reasons for and history of supporting Liverpool.
I’m a supporter from Bristol in England and have been since about 7. I’m a student at the moment so mooching off the government. Michael Owen is the player that originally got me into Liverpool so it’s been a shame to see him fall from grace – I just tell people it was Gerrard now.
Interview – Colin Randall
Here’s a Salut! Reflections exclusive. We had a mole at the full dress rehearsal of David Moyes’s pre-derby team talk and it went something like this …
The downfall of Lance Armstrong has set people thinking and talking about sporting cheats. Salut! Sunderland has banged on about it for years, earning the admiration of some readers but irritating others. Trying to con the referee is admittedly on a different scale to the systematic use of performance-enhancing drugs*, but it is a scourge of modern football all the same. For a partisan site to campaign on such issues and keep a straight face, it has to be willing to recognise the blatant Gyan (often), Bent (sometimes) or Larsson (at Wolves) dive just as clearly as it sees it in opponents, and we have tried to be consistent. Our friend out west, Robert Simmons, believes football could learn a useful lesson from his side of the pond …
If you earn
£70,000 a week, you probably have to accept more scrutiny than most.
Luis Suarez is such an individual. After his appalling dive to con a referee and win a penalty against Arsenal today, he seemed to have claimed rights to the famous cheating question, posed by Salut! Sunderland to an opposing supporter before each SAFC game, for the rest of the season.
Mick McCarthy, the latest Premier manager to be sacked this season following the dismissals of Steve Bruce and Neil Warnock, is a man many Sunderland supporters hold in high esteem.
The nation has laughed. The Premier League has done its best to stop the laughter spreading by trying to force YouTube to block every clip. Pete Sixsmith, on the other hand, knows the full story of Jarvis the Sunderland-supporting spaniel. How he gets from there to Suarez would take longer to explain …
Have we reached the stage where the art of cheating should be taught to children as no more than a basic technique of football? Examine the differing reactions to Suarez (because he gloated), Neuer (because he denied an Englishman) and Jeremy Robson (because his young lad was the one taking liberties). Is there, Jeremy wonders, just a spot of hypocrisy in our approach to bending the rules? …
Following up on the article from last week about goal line technology, a lot of the debate here on Salut! Sunderland has extended from “righting the wrongs”, resulting from poor officiating, through to a more comprehensive analysis of the problems associated with cheating, which from here on in may be referred to as “Suarezing” or “being Suarezed”.
Bill Taylor, pictured on a visit to St Tropez, has probably watched as much World Cup football as most. From out west in Toronto, he’s enthused, criticised and slumbered – whichever response has seemed appropriate – his way through the competition. But some of the downright dishonesty he’s seen has left a nasty taste in the mouth. You can take it as read that this is not the last, but the first, Salut! Sunderand piece that will examine the cheating side of football …
If this World Cup has proved anything, it’s how rotten football has become at international level.