Prior to the season starting, Reds fans would’ve had an apoplexy at the thought of losing Luis Suarez to Madrid, let alone a potential rival for the top four in Arsenal and with good reason too.
For all of his trouble-making and attempts to engineer a move away during the last couple of months, Suarez is just one of those players that’s too hard to give up on. You don’t easily part ways with the second best striker in the world and Liverpool would have been foolhardy to let him go when it wasn’t clear how we’d cope without him.
However, since the season began Liverpool appear to be a very different sort of beast. With 3 league and a cup game gone Liverpool sit top of the league and have been drawn to play Manchester United in the Capital One Cup, meaning the start to the season has been a successful one.
As I mentioned a week or so ago though, in a previous article, it is not so much the victories or league position that have given me so much cause for hope though, it is the manner of these victories and the renewed sense of togetherness in the squad.
With Daniel Sturridge effortlessly slipping into Suarez’s shoes and scoring the goals that have ensured we haven’t missed him and Philippe Coutinho providing the virtuoso creativity that we needed in his absence.
The addition of the likes of Moses, Aspas, Sakho, Cissokho, Ilori, Toure and Mignolet has peppered other areas of the team and squad with some much needed depth of quality and allowed Liverpool to head into the new season with much stronger prospects that we previously had.
Certainly, missing out on the ‘big’ signing that many of us craved was a disappointment but with players moved out and brought in we are now immeasurably stronger than we were even 4 months ago.
We may only have played three league games so far but they were all against sides that we would’ve struggled against in years gone by and the two upcoming league games – Swansea away, Southampton home – should be considerably easier. Or at least, should be..
With just a handful of games left in Suarez’s ban we will soon find out what kind of a difference Luis Suarez will make to this new-look and reinvigorated Liverpool side and it’ll be interesting to see how he fits in, given that Brendan Rodgers has already expressed that Daniel Sturridge is in such good form Suarez will have to fit in to a system that suits the team, rather than having it built around him.
However, if when Suarez returns Liverpool have made it five out of five and still sit comfortably top of the league, it will begin to raise questions about whether or not Liverpool would truly be lost without him.
Suarez is a world-class footballer, there is no doubt of that, but he is also trouble. It’s quite sad that for many of us we only came to our senses about him when he did something that offended our sense of morality during the summer, when he threatened to leave us after having stood by him.
Perhaps it was just karma paying us back for trying to put a positive spin on the things he’d previously done. Either way, I’m sure few of us will fall for that again in the future.
With that in mind, depending on how well the team performs, with or without him, up until January it will be interesting to see how the club responds to interest in him during that window.
On the other hand, if he come back into the side and, as you might expect, and improves us considerably then it will be rather difficult to let him go and if we’re still in the mix at the top by that time nobody will want to disrupt a team in form.
But should a suitable replacement be lined up, Liverpool FC may choose to take a leaf out of Tottenham’s book and rather than rely on one supremely talented individual, let them go for an unseemly amount of money and use it to increase the quality of the first team so that there are several players that can be relied upon to turn up when they’re needed most.
Despite the rumours, I can’t see the club selling in January, unless Suarez either pushes for it or causes another storm of controversy. What is likely though, is that he’ll be allowed to leave at the end of the season for a suitable amount.
I can’t see the club offering him a new contract with a ‘minimum fee’ clause in, as that would cause more trouble than it’s worth and is basically a way of telling the player ‘we’ll let you go in the summer’ but I’m sure talks have been ongoing in the background and unless Suarez genuinely renews his commitment to the club and shows himself to be indispensable once again I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leave next summer.
It is a tough one though. How do you reconcile losing one of the top 5 footballers on the planet, regardless of the amount of money involved? It’s a tough choice to make and I would hate to be the one making it when the time comes.
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