Eclipsing Gareth Bale’s big money move to Real Madrid last summer, Luis Suarez finally got what he had long desired – a move to fierce rivals Barcelona.
The 27 year old striker’s magical form in the league last year played a major role in Liverpool mounting a strong title challenge, narrowly missing top spot. But the striker did get Merseyside back its one truly prized asset – Champions League nights at Anfield.
His bite on Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in the World Cup had all in all ended his Liverpool career, but it was probably time his protracted transfer to the Catalan giants took place.
One thing that the club will miss most is his sheer ingenuity and his ability to create something magical out of virtually nothing. The former Anfield talisman’s ability to score goals as well as create, take on defenders with ease and his commanding presence up ahead will be sorely missed.
Along with Daniel Sturridge, he was a part of the most lethal strike partnership in EPL that terrorized defenders each time they stepped on the field. But is there life after Suarez? One thing that Liverpool needs to positively avoid doing is to replicate Tottenham’s transfer business following Gale’s departure. With no team chemistry and the inability to function as a team, Bale left a gaping hole in the squad.
The £75 million windfall from Suarez’s sale needs to be spent wisely by manager Brendan Rodgers if they want to build upon the same title challenge as last year’s. It’s common knowledge that Liverpool’s shaky defence – one that leaked in 50 goals – needs to be galvanized immediately.
Instead of trying to replace Suarez’s goals, Rodgers should aim at having a robust and impenetrable defence that won’t leak goals instead – thus covering up the goal difference. With an extra £75 million at his disposal, owner John Henry is committed to provide Rodgers with this entire Suarez fund, along with an approximate £60 million of his own, excluding further sales. This should make Liverpool’s transfer kitty exceed £100 million – their biggest transfer spending in history. Looking at Liverpool’s mediocre bench throughout last year, squad depth was a major issue that Rodgers will look to address this summer window.
Let’s take a look at players who’ve been confirmed as Liverpool men this season. Adam Lallana (£25 million) – Undoubtedly at the peak of his career, he may turn out to be the perfect long term replacement for ageing captain Steven Gerrard. A very creative midfielder with excellent ball control and vision, he has the ability to play anywhere across the midfield three and can adapt accordingly. He scored some very crucial goals for the Saints last season and will have no problem settling into the Anfield club.
Rickie Lambert (£4 million) – Another player that is part of the mass exodus from Southampton this summer is Lambert. At 32 years of age, some may question the gaffer’s decision to bring him in, but nobody can doubt the childhood Liverpool fan’s commitment to the club. The hugely experienced forward isn’t the old fashioned striker, but an intelligent operator up ahead who likes creating goals too. He’ll bring experience as well as better options on the bench. Also, he’s in arguably the best form of his career.
Emre Can (£9.75 million) – Bought from Bayer Leverkusen, the 20-year old highly rated German midfielder has a great deal to offer. Along with his favoured central midfield role, he can play at both fullback positions and is very versatile. He’s technically strong and can go forward whenever required. Has the potential to be a world beater if developed well.
Lazar Markovic (£20 million) – Another young and exciting player complementing the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jordan Ibe on the wings is a terrifying prospect. Blessed with immense pace and acceleration, Markovic is a gem in the making. Polished well, the Serbian international can take the Premier League by storm. Some might argue the £20 million price tag, but let’s stick to trusting the gaffer in what he does best.
Dejan Lovren (£20 million) – The latest arrival from the Saints camp, 25-year old Croatian centre back Lovren is a commanding force at the back. Rodgers believes that Lovren will perfectly fill the leadership void left at the back by the departure of Jamie Carragher. He’s strong, defensively solid and can play at both centre back positions with ease. He’ll most probably be partnered with left centre back Mamadou Sakho and form a sweeper-stopper partnership at the back.
With the arrival of Lovren, this might just spell an end to veteran Daniel Agger’s Anfield career, with reports emerging that Barcelona are hot on his trail. Martin Skrtel was in sublime form last season – despite the team leaking in a lot of goals – and might form a part of a trio of rotating centre backs along with Sakho and Lovren, with Kolo Toure on the bench as backup.
This takes Liverpool’s transfer spending to a total of approximately £80 million, with a lot of signings yet to be made. With Champions League returning, Liverpool will need a lot of depth in the squad to prevent players from tiring out and being able to effectively manage injuries.