In hindsight, maybe selling Luis Suarez might be the best thing for Liverpool to move on from yet another player their too overly dependent on. And yet, as the line drawn in the sand fades away before anther approach, it seems that the club’s chances of doing something big this season reside in the possibility of keeping their Uruguayan striker.
Suarez is just as good as Gareth Bale according to last season, and is probably a better striker than Edinson Cavani. And yet the offers made for him aren’t even remotely close to what’s been paid for his national team partner or the Welshman in the weirdest transfer saga we’ve seen in a very long time, as Real Madrid keep offering (or are talked about wanting to offer) fees that make no sense, and Spurs keep turning them down, infuriating Bale.
But it’s easier turning down a £40 million offer than what Bale is being mentioned with, or what was paid for Cavani, especially when it’s coming from a direct rival. Liverpool may not have been in the picture of reaching the Champions League for the last three seasons, but that is on its way to be changing. Suarez, arguably the best forward in the Premier League, might be the catalyst that finally makes the difference from more disappointment or finding the club’s way into the top 4.
Liverpool, as the optimists might say, are going to have a good season with or without him. The foundation from last season seems solid enough for a top 6 finish, and the arrival of Aspas, along with the improvement of Sturridge and Coutinho, this time playing for an entire season, should be the difference between missing out on Europe for another year and finding a lot more consistency and avoiding some embarrassing or inexplicable defeats like those to Aston Villa and West Brom at home.
But Suarez is the real key, because with him Liverpool have a player who a game changer every minute he’s on the pitch. He’s more than just a target man but a forward who attacks from all sides, usually without ceasing until the match is over. One of the best and most unpredictable dribblers in the penalty box, he’s simply not a player you can afford to lose when the top-quality of your team isn’t that impressive.
Brendan Rodgers seems like a man who needs his system to be slowly developed and set before he really succeeds. Last season was the setting stage for this one, in which failure won’t be forgiven or seen lightly. Liverpool’s awful start last season was probably the death warrant on their European dreams, which they almost managed to avoid. This year, even without selling Suarez, they’ll have to manage six matches without him.
Making it through those six matches and then getting him back as one huge bonus pack no one in the league can hope to receive might be a real game changer in a season that is planned ot be the one giving Liverpool some reasons to be proud about. League success, and even a European spot, is usually much better than a meaningless League cup trophy.