Keeping it Real With Jamie Carragher

Laurence Griffiths

Freed from the burden of having to toe any particular party lines, Carragher gives a refreshingly honest insider's assessment of Liverpool's most vexatious transfer story this summer.

Jamie Carragher was not known for being a wallflower on the pitch and his very vocal nature is one of his characteristics that will be most missed by Liverpool in the coming season. No doubt the club's ex-defender — sniff — will be able to put those skills to good use when he takes a seat in the pundit's chair for Sky Sports this season, but as a bit of a warm up Carra has drawn some comparisons between the transfer saga in which Luis Suarez currently finds himself embroiled and Fernando Torres' departure over two-and-a-half years ago.

"The thing about keeping unhappy players is an issue because we had that experience with Torres and keeping him wasn’t the right thing to do," said Carragher. "Torres wasn't the same player for about 18 months and that's certainly what you don't want.

"But with a character like Luis Suarez, I don’t think that would be an issue and if Liverpool were to keep him, I’m sure he would be as committed as ever. He has shown that already, not only on a weekly basis, but on a daily basis in training, and I don’t think Liverpool would ever have the problem that we had with Torres.

"At times, Torres wasn’t giving his best on the pitch for Liverpool and that is why it was a mistake to keep him. But I do believe that Suarez is a slightly different character to Fernando Torres."

"If a player wants to go, it doesn’t mean the club has to accept it"

Zing, Carra. But he raises a valid point: missed — or at the very least under-discussed — in the grand scheme of Luis Suarez's will-he-or-won't-he transfer saga is the self-inflicted impact a non-transfer will have on the player should he remain with Liverpool. Suarez has repeated ad infinitum that he loves the city and loves the club despite his Iberian ambitions, but at the end of the day this whole mess is still stressful and unsettling no matter how much of it is his own fault.

No one is looking for a repeat of the Torres affair and even if Suarez were to give the ol' Brendan Rodgers 150% each time he takes the pitch this year, Carragher still thinks Liverpool are in the driver's seat when it comes to dealing with the wayward striker.

"If a player wants to go, it doesn’t mean the club has to accept it," Carragher said. "He signed a contract, so it’s the club’s decision more than Luis's. He is one of the best players in the world and, when Real Madrid come calling, it will obviously turn a player’s head."

Carra points out that given how recently the striker signed a long term contract to keep him at Anfield, Suarez's transfer fee likely wouldn't differ all that much by this time next year if the club were to wait it out. A player of Suarez's quality is always going to be a transfer target and even without Suarez putting out the feelers to Real Madrid, Liverpool likely would have been prepping for other teams to express interest.

"If he was to be sold," said Carragher, "it would be up to the club to make sure that the money was spent in the right way, after maybe not doing that when Torres went. So it's not in Luis's court, it's in Liverpool's court. It’s up to them to choose what they want to do."

One of us, Carra, you are one of us.

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