To be sure, Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool have some sort of contingency plans in case their efforts in keeping Luis Suarez at the club fail, which mean they’re down one world-class striker but at least they’ll have quite a lot of money to make up for it.
And still, despite Liverpool not trying to buy their way back to the top 4 in the Premier League and not being without some kind of need for the funds (£35-40 million) that will come from selling Luis Suarez, it’s not only about the money that can be made for him, but if he’s even replaceable.
It took Suarez about 18 months to finally become an unstoppable scoring force in England, as his second full-season with the club ended with him scoring 23 league goals. He might have finished as the top scorer in the league, but biting Branislav Ivanovic took him out for the rest of the season (and the beginning of next one as well), ruining his shot of finishing above Robin van Persie.
There’s no player like Suarez Liverpool can sign, not even for the kind of money they’ll make for him. There are names with potential, to be sure, but the chances of adding another world-class striker the moment one of the best has just left you aren’t that great, especially for a team that doesn’t have the appeal for big-name players due to its lack of Champions League football to offer.
Suarez knows he’s been wrong, even if the media treatment against him reeks of hypocrisy and a little bit of racism, fueled by certain managers who recently retired. Liverpool have bet the bank on him, and have let their morale high ground be sacrificed because they’ve stuck by him through think and thin, a little bit too much at times it seems.
The question is can Suarez swallow his pride and ignore everything around him. At times it looked like Suarez should really start looking for a job outside the Premier League. Referees looked quite biased in their decisions against him, and he couldn’t win a penalty to save his life. But once Suarez brought down his diving and other antics to a minimum, the calls started coming, and it seemed like Suarez, most of the time, embraced his new image of fairer player, more interested in scoring and winning than fooling the referees.
But then came the bite, and everything came back to haunt him. It doesn’t matter why he did it, it only matters that he did, and got caught. When the FA feel like it, they use replays to determine things and make suspensions. When it’s not comfortable for them for whatever reason, they say they can’t intervene in what the referee saw or not. With Suarez, it was easy making the call.
Liverpool don’t have to sell Suarez – there’s no release clause or impending expiration date. But keeping on an unhappy player whose only thought is when will he be leaving isn’t the best of choices, and their plans for next season rely on the fact that Suarez gets over his feeling of being persecuted by the English media, and focuses on what he does best.