It is not very common to have a striker in your ranks that can instill so much fear in your opposition the way Luis Suarez did for Liverpool. However, with the controversial star now trading Liverpool and Anfield for Barcelona and Camp Nou, the question begs: can Liverpool cope without Suarez?
The numbers are pretty straightforward, without their talismanic forward, Rodgers’ men have lost a player who can deliver 31 goals in a season. Luis Suarez was more than that though. Scandalous on field antics aside, Suarez was a brilliant player and nobody can deny that.
It’s not only Suarez’s goals that Liverpool will miss, it’s the aura that surrounded him when he stepped onto the pitch. Defenders trembled at the sight of him running at them and the Reds played full of confidence knowing they had a player like him that could make such a difference in any given game. With Suarez in their ranks, other players were able to run into the holes left on the pitch due to the attention Suarez garnered whenever he made the slightest movement on or off the ball.
Suarez didn’t only score, he also is a great provider of goals, delivering 12 assists last season (one less than captain Steven Gerrard) with 2.6 key passes per game.1
There is no doubt that the Reds will miss their star striker, but with the £75 million in the bank from his transfer to the Catalan giants, the funds are there to strengthen the squad. How Liverpool’s manager Brendan Rodgers plans to use this money is vital and could set a precedent as to how Liverpool play in the next season, something that former manager Kenny Dalglish didn’t master after the sale of Fernando Torres in 2011.
Attackers Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Lazar Markovic have already been brought to Merseyside to increase the depth of the squad, with center back Dejan Lovren secured to tighten up the back line.
Forward Daniel Sturridge must step up now and he definitely has the capabilities to do so. Although injury prone, he scored a solid 21 goals last season, providing a further seven assists. With Sturridge knowing he will be the main man up front next season, he is confident Liverpool can continue their success without Luis Suarez. The England international was quoted in the Daily Mirror saying, “Liverpool is a huge club, it’s an elite club and people don’t realise that. We have a lot of players who can step up. Luis has left and that is football, he’s moved on.”
“For me, with the signings the manager has made – exciting players, young players, real up and comers – we are going to have that winning mentality. Players come and go, that’s the nature of the game. Some will remain at a club their whole career like Stevie Gerrard and some will move.
“It doesn’t matter. We will still have the mentality to move forward, be an exciting squad, playing attacking football, and that’s the Liverpool way. We will continue to do that.”2
As has always been reiterated at Anfield, Liverpool is bigger than one man. The same was said when Fernando Torres left for Chelsea and now the transfer of Luis Suarez has warranted the same response. It is an exciting, albeit nerve-wracking, period for Liverpool fans. Will Liverpool fall back into mediocrity the way the Spurs did after they sold Gareth Bale? Or can they push forward and move on the way big clubs do so well?
A new hero has to arise, one that will keep the Kop singing and Anfield rocking.