Luis Suarez claims Chelsea player feared being dropped by Jose Mourinho over Chelsea time-wasting against Liverpool

Former Reds striker discusses Chelsea's tactics in his upcoming autobiography, as well as talking about Steven Gerrard's slip

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The Independent Football

Luis Suarez has claimed he spoke to a Chelsea player who told him he felt uncomfortable about the tactics employed by the Blues in the 2-0 win at Anfield last season that ultimately ruined Liverpool's title chance.

The teams clashed in the latter stages of last season with Liverpool seemingly destined to win the Premier League. However, Jose Mourinho set up his team to play defensively against the free-scoring Reds in a move that surprised Suarez.

The Uruguayan, who would finish the season as the Premier League's top scorer, was most baffled by perceived time wasting from the get-go and claims even a Chelsea player was uncomfortable with it.

“Every coach plays the way that suits him, so I don’t mind that,” the now Barcelona striker writes in his new autobiography, Crossing The Line. “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?’ 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,’ he replied. ‘What else can I do? If I don’t, I won’t play. What would you do?’”


Liverpool would ultimately fall two points short of Manchester City by the end of the season, seeing a chance to end their 20 year wait for a league title disappear. The defeat to Chelsea cost them.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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."


Suarez added: "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.”

"The slip" was of course the one suffered by captain Steven Gerrard who lost control of the ball before Demba Ba raced through to score the opening goal. Discussing the moment for the first time, Suarez admits he might have struggled to continue playing had it been him that was to blame.

“If I had been in Stevie’s shoes, I don’t know if I would have been able to carry on playing. Emotionally, it must have been very, very hard.

“In the previous weeks, so much had been said about him, the expectation had built so much, the talk had been about him leading Liverpool, his club, to a first title in over 20 years, on the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, in which his cousin had died, and then that happens. The captain, the former youth-teamer, the one-club man, a Scouser born and bred, and he was the unlucky one to make a crucial mistake.


“He still hadn’t won the league title. Stevie had started to believe, we all had. And now it had been virtually taken away from him and like that, with him slipping against Chelsea. I’m convinced that if Chelsea had not scored like that, they would not have scored at all. And once you are a goal down against them, it’s virtually impossible.”