This Sunday’s match against Chelsea at Anfield is Liverpool’s last major hurdle toward completing what has been a dream season. It’s only fitting that these two sides are squaring off with everything to play for, especially considering how much Chelsea has affected the make-up of this title contending Liverpool squad. Let’s look back at how we got to this point…
When the January transfer window rolled around in the 2010/11 season, Liverpool was clearly in for another year of disappointing mediocrity. The club eventually gave in to a disgruntled Fernando Torres and sold him to Chelsea in a highly publicized break up. Liverpool ownership did everything they could to try and convince the club star to stay, which included purchasing a young and talented striking partner named Luis Suarez to complement him. However, Torres was set on making the move and Chelsea were equally set on getting him in to help make a push for a second consecutive title. Interestingly enough, after Liverpool turned down early bids it was rumored that Chelsea might even throw in a young English national named Daniel Sturridge to sweeten the deal.
In the end, Liverpool sold Torres for a Premier League record £50 million ($79.5 million) and moved on with new signings Suarez and Andy Carroll.
Fast forward two years later to the 2012/13 January transfer window. Sturridge, who to that point had been buried under a deep Chelsea roster, finally ends up going to Liverpool for £12 million. Now let’s jump to the current campaign and reflect.
With Suarez on his best behavior this year, we have seen history happening right in front of us. The dominant partnership of he and Sturridge, the two top scorers in the league, have the Reds in commanding position to win the title. On the other hand, Chelsea like Liverpool has failed to contend for a league title the last couple of seasons (they did win the Champions League in the 2011/12 season) and their prize striker has personally floundered with the Blues.
The irony here is that Torres was seen as the “golden goose” to begin with, and that the moves made on both sides were done because of his influence and potential. Liverpool’s motive in signing Suarez was to bring him in as “the complimentary piece” to Torres, hoping that would coax Torres into staying. Chelsea, after rumored to be willing to throw in Sturridge in the initial Torres deal, still ended up shipping him off to Liverpool for below market price last January after he became “the forgotten man” because of injury and a packed Chelsea lineup, which included a consistently starting Torres.
The Torres experiment has clearly been a failure, while Liverpool has turned into the beneficiaries. Torres’ departure opened the door for Suarez to be the main man and Chelsea’s commitment to Torres brought Sturridge over to Liverpool to create this two-headed monster. This makes the backdrop for the Chelsea-Liverpool match so incredibly intriguing. Will Liverpool win a league title before Chelsea after “losing out” on Torres a few years back? The game itself will surely be the match of the year, and as far as the three players of interest are concerned, here is a comparison chart to examine the payoff for each of them since their transfers: