Luis Suarez has revealed that he would not have been at Anfield for the 2013/14 campaign were it not for Steven Gerrard.
The now-Barcelona star, as relayed by ESPN, has once again spoken candidly about how he was prepared to move to Arsenal, insisting that he was ‘close’ to agreeing a transfer.
Suarez on Gerrard
However, Gerrard was able to convince his former teammate to remain on Merseyside for another year, and it almost culminated with Liverpool winning the Premier League.
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"He [Gerrard] is one of the best. In soccer it is difficult to make many friends, very complicated because everything that revolves around the sport," Suarez said.
"But he is one of the best because of all the support he gave me on a sporting level and through all the criticism I received in England, he didn't care and he always stood up for me in all the cases.
"The racism, [Branislav] Ivanovic [bite], everything, he always showed me how I should treat a teammate, the club and everything. He convinced me to stay when I was close to signing with Arsenal.
"He told me to wait, that one of the best teams in Europe would come looking for me if you have a great season. That's one of the things I always remembered and he was right because then next year Barcelona came to sign me."
Suarez's best campaign
Of course Suarez’s goal tally of 31 in the league that season went some way to explaining just why Brendan Rodgers’ men came as close as they did to England’s greatest prize, with the Uruguay international earning himself a £75million switch to Spain in 2014.
Since then he’s formed a lethal front-line alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar, but had he opted to join Arsene Wenger at the Emirates Stadium a year previous that deal might not have been feasible.
When that’s considered he has plenty to thank Gerrard for, even if the LA Galaxy star was acting out of a desire to see Liverpool’s best interests fulfilled, not Suarez’s.
Gerrard struck up an extremely proficient partnership with the South American during the latter’s last season at the club, although it was his famous slip that is credited as being the reason the Reds lost the league.
As far as Arsenal feel about the whole situation, it must rank amongst Wenger’s biggest regrets that he couldn’t convince Suarez to sign for him in 2013.
Since the days of Robin van Persie the Gunners have lacked a natural goalscorer, and had they had the Barcelona striker leading their line they might themselves have been able to launch a credible title challenge.
Arsenal fans, do you think Suarez could have won you the league in 2013/14? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.