Nothing Luis Suarez has ever done leads me to believe he's a brilliant man. He's one of the elite football players on the planet, but anyone who continually fails to understand why his treatment of Patrice Evra was 100% unacceptable probably isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. Largely because of that, I don't expect his forthcoming book to be anything but an utter train wreck.
Luckily, we don't have to wait for the book to be released to get some interesting nuggets, as bits are steadily being leaked to create interest in his thoughts. Today's gem has to do with Chelsea's setup in the Blues' infamous 2-0 win at Anfield, the match which eventually took control of the Premier League title race out of Liverpool's hands.
When discussing Chelsea's setup, Luis started well enough I suppose:
"Every coach plays the way that suits him, so I don’t mind that."
"The only thing I didn’t like was the way that they wasted time from the very start. I was asking myself: ‘Why are they doing this from the first minute?’"
Wait, didn't you just say you didn't mind when a coach plays the way he likes? It's been a whole pause for air, but make up your mind already.
"I even asked one of their players. ‘What do you want me to do? If he makes us play like this, I have to play like this. What else can I do? If I don’t, I won’t play. What would you do?’"
Sure you did Luis...sure you did. We all know how friendly you were with the Chelsea squad, and how respectfully you typically treat others on the pitch. I'm sure they were just pleading their innocence with you, and asking the advice of one of the league's cuddliest players. Did you have a little hug and share some tea with the Branbear afterward as well?
"We had gone into the game knowing that a draw was good for us. With the atmosphere at Anfield, with the fact that we had just beaten [Manchester] City, our attitude remained the same: we wanted to win. But we were conscious of the fact that with a draw we were still ahead of everyone. What I didn’t expect was for them to play for the draw. It’s true that they won the game but I am convinced that without that stroke of luck, they would not have scored."
Reminder. Chelsea won the game. That defended, waited for a mistake, and capitalized. You know how they knew the mistake would come? Because Liverpool were playing in a way that offered no cover at all in the case of an individual mistake. Whoopsies.
"We knew that some of the normal [Chelsea] starters weren’t going to play, but we also knew that if they wanted to win the league – and people forget that they still had a chance to do that – they would have to play to win. For them to try to waste time when the draw was no good to them was something that I didn’t understand."
Dear Luis, if Jose Mourinho thought his squad had a real chance of winning the league at that point in the campaign, he likely wouldn't have used the starting eleven that he did*. But you knew he wasn't plaing his first choice squad, so you knew he wasn't thinking Chelsea had a real chance of winning the league, right? With the Blues still very much alive in the Champions League and all but dead in the Premier League, expecting anything but what you got was naive, at best.
*Reminder...Chelsea won the game anyway
Go on though, Mr. Suarez:
"We didn’t play that well, but I honestly think that there was nothing we could have done differently. We had 10 players in front of us, almost all of them in the penalty area. We could try a one-two, or move the ball quickly from player to player to try to pull them out of position, seeking to create some space, but then there would always be another defender in front of us."
You could always try committing so many bodies forward that there's no cover for an individual error (such as a slip). Oh wait. You tried that. How'd that approach work? I forgot...
"It’s very hard when you see that there is no space to move into. Meanwhile, every time we looked up at the clock, time was running out. The way that they seemed to be playing with the clock frustrated us. They tried to wind us up, I think, and we were drawn into that. ‘Come on, hurry up.’ We should not have been dragged in."
That's called good planning. Anticipate that your opponent will panic and do something stupid, and then take advantage of said error. I'm pretty sure how that's how the second goal was scored, you know, the one that didn't involve a slip.
"Mourinho knew: if you waste time, if you break it up from the very start, they’re going to get frustrated, they’re going to play a bit more crazily, they’ll do anything. They pulled us out of our normal routine. And, of course, we never imagined the slip and that was what truly made it hard for us. Nor did they. You can’t plan for a player to slip."
Again, I don't get the confusion about why Mourinho set the squad up the way he did for that match. Suarez seems to have explained it perfectly while discussing his confusion, but then again, this is a man that's confused about why he was left off the Ballon d'Or shortlist after effectively sabotaging his country's World Cup, doing nothing in European competition during the calendar year, and missing 4 months dues to a suspension for biting a third opponent. This should be some book.