Desmond Kane

Return of hungry Suarez gives Liverpool food for thought

Desmond Kane

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It was not as succulent as a cut of medium rare Branislav Ivanovic, but last night's roast of the day in the Capital One Cup, otherwise known as the old English League Cup, did not taste too rubbery.

Even in a 1-0 defeat to their fiercest foes Manchester United amid some predictably frantic third round fare, there was enough to provide Liverpool's fans with some nourishment before the onset of another bleak mid-winter.

There will be no League Cup for them this season to go with their eight previous successes in a tournament that seems to toil for any cultural significance in the nouveau riche Premier League era.

Despite any misgivings, the Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers discovered that sometimes there are greater lessons to be gleaned from losing.

The performance of the much-maligned Luis Suarez suggests there is little reason for Rodgers to be disenchanted about the goings on at Old Trafford.

Suarez has hardly been the model professional at Anfield since arriving from Ajax almost three years ago, but he seems to care little about his general conduct.

Many a man would be left scurrying for a darkened room to hide themselves away in shame having racially abused the United defender Patrice Evra during a Premier League match in October 2011, and bit Ivanovic of Chelsea as another league get-together reached maturity five months ago.

He has done some serious time for his offences being banned for eight games for taunting Evra, and 10 games for the Ivanovic munch.

He has brought shame upon the good name of Liverpool, but Suarez is shameless having tried and failed to prompt his own sale to possible suitors in the form of Real Madrid and Arsenal during the close season.

It is probably better his apparently carefree attitude extends to the pitch. The last thing Liverpool want to see him developing is a conscience.

Having studied the Suarez nashers in full smile, there are other players one would probably chose to sink his molars into you. There are not too many other players you would want up top for your side.

Suarez's movement, control, weight of pass and ability to read the movement of Daniel Sturridge was a joy to behold against United. On another night, he might had had a hat-trick. This was not another night for Suarez, but there will be other nights for him.

"I know it was a difficult moment, but for myself and for the team it's very important I'm back because I can help the team and (being) off the pitch I can't," he said. "We'll keep going for the week and for the next game.

"All the time I try my best on the pitch. I'm here to help the team and help Liverpool and I'll try my best."

There is little doubt that Liverpool look a tastier side with the Uruguayan forward at loose among opposing defenders.

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Lesser players would have been emptied out of the door if their conduct had caused such havoc, but Suarez has survived a bout of cannibalism, and a summer of trying to engineer a move away, because of his resale value, a figure Rodgers estimates at between £50-60m. His general worth to the team is immeasurable.

Whatever else is made of the man, he is genuinely world class as a forward. As good as Robin van Persie, a figure missing this match due to injury.

While he remains at Liverpool, probably until next summer, we should enjoy the main aspects of his play. The darker side of his persona should be left for others to decipher even if nothing seems to have changed much in the 157 days since he last played for his club.

A slightly better first touch would have provided him with the scope to open the scoring in the first half while he saw a free-kick come back off the bar in the second half.

Javier Hernandez earned United the win despite eight changes from their weekend mauling at Manchester City, but it was one they barely merited as Liverpool revolved around the home goal for large swathes of the second half.

All of this will mean little to the United manager David Moyes with progression uppermost in his thoughts.

While Suarez remains on the payroll, it would surely be self-harming for Rodgers to try to take a stand unless his side's main protagonist descends into some sort of moral vortex, hardly a nonsensical notion. Pride comes before a fall.

As long as he is not planning to endorse any t-shirts in support of Suarez like Kenny Dalglish, Rodgers should sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

A place in the top four, and Champions League qualification remains Liverpool's priority. If Suarez remains injury-free, and trouble-free, it is surely an edible thought.

Failure at Old Trafford has perhaps never tasted this good.

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