Luis Suarez: To Play or Not To Play?
If there’s one sign that Luis Suarez is going to feature in his side’s crunch game with England tomorrow, it’s the fact that he’s stopped texting the Three Lions and Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard back.
Well, that and he’s been in training all week.
Reports have been circling that the striker will be fit to start at the Arena De Sao Paulo, pairing up with Edinson Cavani in a bid to bounce back from their shock defeat on Saturday.
The PFA Player of the Year had to watch from the bench as Costa Rica swept a poor Uruguay side away in Fortaleza, delivering a surprise 3-1 win in a game which the South American side only had three shots on target.
That won’t be the case when they line up against Roy Hodgson’s side – nor can it be. Both sides will be gunning for a win following disappointing starts to the tournament and should Suarez start it will be sure to strike fear into the eyes of the likes of Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, and Jordan Henderson and be a huge boost to the Uruguay Group D World Cup odds.
His performances for Brendan Rodgers this season have been stunning and he’s beaten strolled by just about every defender in the Premier League on his way to 31 goals in 33 games. And that includes Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka.
Of course no game time since having keyhole surgery on his knee last month will raise questions about his fitness, as will the fact Oscar Tabarez refusing to throw him on despite going down to one of the lowest ranked teams in the tournament on Saturday.
Unless he’s undergone a miraculous recovery in less than a week – which additionally will need to get him match-fit, it’s unlikely we’re going to see the Luis Suarez that was so on form last season, but even at 70% fit, the 27-year-old can cause major problems. Something teammate Raheem Sterling knows all too well.
He said, “I’d rather not see him on the pitch. We know he can score some spectacular goals.
“But we can’t just think about Luis Suarez, they have other players. He is a great player and most of our defenders have played against him before.”
But it isn’t just Uruguay who face problems in front of goal. The position of Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling and Wayne Rooney has been hotly contested since Hodgson’s men struggled to contain the Italians on the wing with Rooney playing wide left.
It’s likely that the Manchester United will switch with Sterling, who played the number 10 role so efficiently on Saturday, which could pose more of a threat, whilst the legs of the young 19-year-old will provide good back-up for the likes of Baines and Johnson who will have to deal with that feared Uruguayan attack.