As Alexis Mac Allister arrives and old friends like James Milner depart, we are reminded that football, like life, is always in flux. It’s constantly changing. In both, it is important to savor the moment and enjoy the ride. And in both, you should be sure to take the time to look back and let where you’ve been soak in and who was there with you. So let’s catch up with some more old friends, shall we?
Martin Skrtel. I always liked Skrtel. He always seemed a little crazy, but a good crazy. An “I like the taste of my own blood in my mouth and am offended you are trying to score on me” type of crazy. Our defense is sounder today than during his tenure, but I still miss the guy occasionally.
He played over 300 matches with Liverpool before departing for Fenerbahce in the summer of 2016. He spent three years with the Turkish giants before a cup of espresso with Atalanta in Serie A. Martin never moved to Italy, possibly his wife’s decision if you believe Atalanta, and eventually ended up back in Turkey with Istanbul Basaksehir. The big man would win the title with the upstart club in 2019-20. He’s now fully retired at home in Slovakia. He hung up his international boots with over 100 caps and brought his club career to a close after one year at Spartak Trnava in his home country.
Emre Can. I don’t know what made me think of Can recently, but it was the first time I had in a long time. It truly seems like he hasn’t been at the club for eons, but in actuality, he only left Merseyside in the summer of 2018. Another shock to my system was the fact that he is still just 29. That made him 20 when he first came to Anfield. Can was one of the players who benefitted the most from Brendan Rodgers getting the sack.
The midfielder was one of many that the old gaffer complained about during his exit, stating that he could have won with Liverpool had he been given the necessary tools. Jurgen Klopp then showed the world how to use the tools that Rodgers disdained. The German international moved from the backline to central midfield yet was hampered by injuries. Juventus was where he rehabilitated his game and won two trophies. He won two more with Borussia Dortmund even with the heartbreak of the final day this season. He’s still in his prime and I’m glad he’s doing well.
Loris Karius. Poor guy. When we last saw him in a Liverpool jersey, he was in tears in Kyiv. The German keeper was apologizing to Liverpool fans for two truly egregious howlers that cost the Reds the European Cup after a fairytale run to the final. It wasn’t his fault though. Gareth Bale‘s bicycle kick was unsavable. “John Kreese” Sergio Ramos concussed him with a cheap shot before Real Madrid even got on the board. Unfortunately for Karius, it hasn’t improved for him since leaving the confines of Anfield.
A two-year loan move to Besiktas was cut short after he sued the club over unpaid wages. From there, his next loan was to Union Berlin until his contract expired in the summer of 2022. He eventually was an emergency signing for Newcastle United and saw his debut come in of all places the EFL Cup final. Karius didn’t win but his performance in defeat against Manchester United was leaps and bounds better than his last final with us. He is still just 29.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
Luis Suarez. Oh, Luis Luis. Suarez was a gifted striker and master of shithousery. The Uruguayan had enough biting and handball scandals for three careers. It was something of a gut punch when he engineered his move to Barcelona mere months after nearly winning us the league. But it is hard to blame him. He got to play in a front line with Lionel Messi and Neymar. Would any of us say no to that? Would any player?
In six seasons with Barca, he won thirteen trophies including four La Liga crowns. However, Suarez learned what it was like to be on the other side of those European nights at Anfield! He won yet another La Liga crown in two seasons with Atletico Madrid. The twilight of his career is coming in South America. His first professional club, Nacional, was stop number one. Now he’s in Brazil with Gremio I suspect he’s still got a few goals left up his sleeve.
It’s been great seeing where some of our old friends have gone, but I won’t divert you from the joys of transfer season any longer. Until next time!