FC Barcelona and Liverpool today announced that a fee had been agreed for Luis Suarez to move to Camp Nou in the coming days. Here, CaughtOffside writers offer their thoughts.
Are Liverpool better off without the Luis Suarez circus?
Adam Davies: Sort of. He wasn’t exactly the most endearing character to non-Liverpool fans, and thus made Liverpool occasionally tough for neutrals to like. On the pitch, it might be a different matter.
Jordan Chamberlain: No, frankly. The supposed ‘circus’ usually involved opposition fans criticising Liverpool for having such an unpleasant chap on board – but when he was on the pitch, his presence was solely positive. He got himself banned twice – but this was a small price to pay for consistent genius.
Steve Green: From a PR standpoint – yes. But on the field only time will tell. It’s all dependent on who they sign to replace him.
Tom Seymour: Brendan Rodgers showed last season that he could deal with a biting fiasco and it was proven that if a player is performing well then they can pretty much get away with anything.
However, if they can cope with the departure then having a player who isn’t suspended every other game is definitely a bonus.
Jacob Daniel: As a team, obviously not. In a footballing sense he’s one of very few players on the planet who are irreplaceable. As a club, though, definitely – there’s only so many things that can happen before it starts to make the club look ridiculous.
Rob Summerscales: Organically, yes. However, the damage has been done. By sticking by Suarez after he racially abused Patrice Evra (those shameless tee-shirts) and then bit Branislav Ivanovic, Liverpool have made it clear that winning games is more important to them than the reputation of their football club.
They are very fortunate that the morals of Barcelona are equally loose, allowing the Reds to get an excellent price for the twisted genius. Liverpool will remain a circus though, because their pandering to Suarez has set a dangerous precedent.
Liverpool are, of course, not alone in this – successful football clubs are seldom respectable these days.
Can any player replace Suarez’s contribution at Anfield, and who do you think would make a good replacement?
Adam Davies: I’m not sure Rickie Lambert or Wilfried Bony are players Liverpool fans had in mind. Karim Benzema would no doubt go down a treat, but no one on the market can both create and score chances like Luis Suarez. However, on a positive note for Liverpool, Daniel Sturridge continues to improve and can shoulder a lot of the goalscoring burden. The sky is the limit for Raheem Sterling too – I still can’t believe he is just 19 – and if he adds more goals to his game, he could be incredible. Lazar Markovic could be extremely exciting too (presuming he signs).
Jordan Chamberlain: Suarez registered 31 goals and 12 assists in the Premier League last term, despite being banned for the first five matches. In answer to the question – No, nobody can – apart from a Messi/Ronaldo type, and one of those is not forthcoming. Marco Reus or Karim Benzema would be dream targets, but both are highly, highly unlikely.
Steve Green: Wilfried Bony’s record has been great, his stats show that he would be the best value for money, but he lacks the star name to lead Liverpool’s front line. Ideally they’d be looking at someone like Radamel Falcao or Karim Benzema.
Tom Seymour: The simple answer is no. Liverpool’s tactics revolved around the Uruguayan and replacing him is impossible. However, Rodgers is tactically smart and changing his style is probably the more likely option, with Daniel Sturridge as the focus in attack and a unit of exciting attacking midfielders being him.
Signing more players who operate like Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho would be more useful than another striker. Suarez essentially played as a ‘false nine’ in any case.
Jacob Daniel: There’s no one player who could do it, beyond someone ridiculous like Messi. The challenge for Brendan Rodgers is not going mental like Spurs did last year but taking his time and thinking of a new approach. Markovic would be a fantastic start.
Rob Summerscales: No. Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar are the only men on the planet who are capable of matching Suarez’s incredible contribution from last season. It goes without saying that none of them will be heading to Anfield.
Although he is still not in Suarez’s league, Alexis Sanchez would have been an excellent signing for the Reds. Liverpool, who were interested in the Chilean, will not enjoy watching him tear defences apart with Arsenal next season.