In today's news and notes, Luis Suarez wants to stay at Liverpool next year—but only after spending the summer in sunny London. Plus Andy Carroll wants more minutes and a four letter word that rhymes with duck, stuck, and monster truck…
* We've got a bit of a run on Luis Suarez today, with the biggest news having been floating around since Sunday but nonetheless well worth a mention, as word has leaked out that the club and his agent are working on extending his contract while Suarez has confirmed his intention to stick around despite the at times troubled season both for himself and the club as a whole. One person happy about these latest developments, it seems, is Jamie Carragher:
(He's) our best player. I wouldn't swap him for anyone in the league. He is a fantastic player and I'm delighted we've got him and hopefully he will take that forward into the cup final.
It is vitally important (to keep him). I see no reason why he would want to leave. He is playing well so hopefully he will sign a new contract, which he is expecting to do.
However, it isn't all good news on the Suarez front for Liverpool fans, with the Uruguayan striker making no secret of his desire to use his off-time during the summer to head down to London and play in the Olympics:
All my team‑mates are saying we all want to go to the Olympic Games and play as Uruguay has not been there for a long time, but it also depends on the club and the coach of the team who has to pick the players. All of that has to be in order.
With squads at the Olympics limited to three players over the age of 23, Suarez' involvement is hardly a sure thing despite his key role with the senior side. Still, with his form dipping in the early autumn after two summers without any time off due to country commitments, the mere idea of him playing in London will be mildly troubling for some.
* Meanwhile, with Maxi Rodriguez hitting the post late against Everton on the weekend, Liverpool's season tally of strikes against the woodwork has hit 29. If you talk to the people in the media department who proclaimed the club's capture of a Shorty award for excellence in social media part of an historic double* it's probably worth some kind of trophy. For most, though, it's become one of the most frustrating aspects of an up and down season, managing to at the same time be both a legitimate excuse for dropped points and an easy way to pretend more serious underlying problems don't exist.
At least for public consumption, the players have in the past talked about it as being the former far more than the latter, and this week Suarez joined in on every depressed Liverpool fan's favourite pastime: What if all those shots were just an inch in the other direction? Except for the shots that would have had to have been an inch in the other other direction, I mean. But still, what if? And where'd I put my drink?
When you shoot, you can look for the spaces between the posts and the goalkeeper. But instinctively, you usually aim for the corners, which means that there’s a chance the ball might hit the post. I think we have hit the post more times than the crossbar.
Sometimes this happens. As a striker, you can shoot from 25 yards and hit the post with a shot that is technically perfect. But you can also be looking the wrong way, the ball hits you on the knee and it goes in. The next minute, you score again and you’re on a run.
There is an element of luck. It would be more worrying if chances were not being created. Maybe next season, all the ones that hit the post and come out may go in.
Or maybe next season all those shots that hit the post and come out will be an inch in the other other other direction and instead fly straight into the advertising hoardings. Still, Suarez' record with Uruguay, with Ajax before he arrived in England, and with Liverpool for his first six months do speak to him being a far better finisher than this season's return might suggest, and it certainly would be far more worrying if the chances weren't there at all. So next year they might all go in and carry Liverpool to the league title. Now where'd I put my drink?
* Moving away from Suarez and on to his strike partner on the weekend to wrap things up, as on the back of two match winning goals in less than a week Andy Carroll has talked about his disappointment at often finding himself on the bench this season. He may have played in 31 of the club's 33 league games to date, but he came off the substitute's bench in nearly half of them, and while it's entirely fair to suggest that for the most part his play hasn't deserved to see him start week in and week out, it's worth noting that his last two performances have spoken to him being a player who needs time to grow into a game more than most.
I am confident in myself that, if I am playing games, I will score goals and put myself about. I cannot really do that if I am on the bench and coming on in the last 10 minutes of games. What I want is to start games and put myself about like I know I can. When I haven't been playing, [I tend to] get low on confidence.
At least for the time being, in order to get the most out of Carroll it may more often than not require that he be on the pitch for the full ninety minutes while accepting he won't be at his best until the end. Whether in the long term this offers the club its best chance at success is still an open question, but it doesn't seem a stretch to suggest that based on the season's evidence the choice has to be between Andy Carroll all of the time or Andy Carroll none of the time, with Andy Carroll some of the time consigned to the big bin of bad ideas.
We'll be back later with any breaking news, but in the meantime, you should probably try to avoid saying luck or any other bad words (warning: exceptionally nsfw language)…
*They may not have called it "historic." But they really did refer to it as part of a double along with the League Cup.