With the impending sale of a disillusioned Luis Suarez, Liverpool FC face another setback in their search for Champions League football just when it looked like Brendan Rodgers’ coaching philosophy was having an impact at Anfield.
“It is a difficult moment for me. My coach and my colleagues know that they [the media] didn't treat me well. Because of the paparazzi I could not go in my garden, I could not go to the supermarket. My reason for leaving is not the money. It's my family and image. I don't feel comfortable here any more.” [quotes from The Guardian] recent comments from Suarez regarding interest from Real and Atletico Madrid.
Before the infamous bite – and still after – Rodgers seemed to create a flowing system in which the clubs key players could excel to the best of their ability. Lucas Leiva’s return added tenacity to the midfield, allowing the revitalized Steven Gerrard to continue his impressive attacking form. Add to this the exciting acquisition of Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan, Daniel Sturridge contributing an impressive 10 goals and 5 assists since joining from Chelsea and Jordan Henderson looking like the player that convinced the Scousers to fork out £15m for him 2 seasons back. Things were falling into place at this historic club and with a solid summer transfer window behind them, Rodgers’ men could put up a serious top-4 challenge in the upcoming season.
However, the club has been clouded in uncertainty again this week, with troubled genius Luis Suarez admitting that the media have made it hard for him to return to the English game, sparking rumours that the Madrid clubs will make a move for the Uruguayan. Though Suarez is undoubtedly talented and influential, it has to be questioned: how much of a stance should Liverpool put up in order to keep their man?
In his time playing in front of the Anfield Kop, Suarez has been suspended for nearly 15% of the games he would have been available for. For a club that has Champions League aspirations, having their most valuable player out for such a proportionate amount of a season will have a substantial influence on the clubs final league position. If Liverpool are to progress and reach previous heights then they need consistency throughout the club, starting with the players. Coutinho and Sturridge look to have settled well and offer quality as well as youth, looking like the future of the club. If Liverpool can command a fee in the region of £40million for Suarez, then they could add two well-known forwards to their ranks, giving them options that the top clubs must have in the final-third. Other additions must be made, however, with Jamie Carragher retiring and Martin Skrtel looking bereft of previous defensive abilities, Rodgers will be looking to add depth to the centre of defence and the sale of Suarez could increase the quality of candidate the club looks to bring in.
It does seem that Luis Suarez has kicked his last ball on Merseyside, which although not an ideal scenario could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Reds. Similar to the departure of Fernando Torres in 2011, Liverpool will be looking to get a fee that can cover adequate replacement(s), but this time around supporters will be hoping they get better value for money than in the deal that saw Andy Carroll replace the departing Torres, arriving for a monumental £35m. Only time will tell, but expect to see Luis Suarez playing his football closer to the equator come the start of the season.