We are only in March. Liverpool still have eight Premier League fixtures to play this season. The Reds sit nine points behind fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur. Qualifying for the Champions League via a league finish remains a possibility, albeit only a slim one. There is still hope, but it would take something of a miracle for the Anfield outfit to leapfrog Everton, Arsenal and Spurs, before the season draws to a close in May.
Liverpool’s absence from the elite competition in European football did not prevent Uruguayan star Luis Suarez from joining the Merseyside club, but the Reds’ continued failure to compete alongside the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich may lead to the departure of the former Ajax striker. A switch to one of the biggest clubs in the continent could even come as early as this summer.
The Reds’ managing director, Ian Ayre, may have dismissed Suarez’s comments from earlier this week, in which the skilful forward seemed to suggest that he would be welcome to an approach from a big club, but the grim reality for fans of the Anfield side is that should the Uruguayan wish to leave, then a move will almost certainly happen.
Suarez has been in sensational form this season and is currently the top scorer in the Premier League. Some suggest that a player of his undoubted quality deserves to be playing in the Champions League. The striker has previously – on several occasions – indicated that he is content with life on Merseyside. He is adored by Liverpool’s fans, who argued fiercely in favour of the Kop idol during the infamous Patrice Evra affair. They sing his name with immense passion during every one of their fixtures. Suarez enjoys the adulation. How much that significant show of support means to him will become clearer in a few months’ time, when some of Europe’s finest teams come calling.
However, such big-money moves do not always work out – and Suarez only has to look at the man he replaced to understand that. Fernando Torres joined Chelsea in an incredible £50m move 26 months ago – and despite winning the Champions League last season – the Spaniard has not enjoyed life in London. Torres’ form has dipped considerably at Stamford Bridge, to the extent that some of his own supporters mock the striker for his poor displays in a Chelsea shirt.
Liverpool fans, too, will know that although losing Suarez would initially cause deep pain, no single player is bigger than any club. The Kop used to sing Torres’ name with great pride, but then he left. Now he is forgotten. Should Suarez leave, then another exciting player will win the supporters’ hearts. This is how football tends to work.
But Suarez is still a Liverpool player, for now, and the fans are still able to enjoy his mesmerising skill and talent. Brendan Rodgers would do well to keep the Uruguayan beyond this summer and Liverpool should do all that they can to persuade him to stay. However, if a record-breaking offer is made by a powerful European club to acquire his services, then the likelihood is Suarez will leave. Rodgers will need to prepare for either outcome.
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