8 Players Liverpool Could Use to Replace a Transferred Luis Suarez

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2012

8 Players Liverpool Could Use to Replace a Transferred Luis Suarez

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    Depth in the attack has long been an Achilles' heel for Liverpool.

    First it was supplying a strike partner for Fernando Torres. Then it was finding a replacement when he left for Chelsea. Now its finding a partner for Luis Suarez. Sooner or later, the Reds may need to find another replacement.

    Suarez may seem untouchable, but few would have expected Torres to leave in the January transfer window during the 2010/11 season. The Uruguayan striker's form—he leads the club in scoring with 10 goals—has made him one of the most wanted strikers in Europe.

    The club have Suarez signed through the next four seasons, but contracts in football aren't worth the paper they're printed on. A player can go from club favorite to public enemy No. 1 in the span of a few weeks.

    Should Liverpool be offered at least £50 million for Suarez, they might be likely to listen. It would be a hefty windfall for the club and allow them the funding to search for reinforcements.

    In addition Liverpool would rid themselves of the various headaches that Suarez has caused both on the pitch and off. He's gone a while without incident, but the threat of him doing something stupid is always there.

    Any move would be unlikely to occur during the upcoming transfer window, but that doesn't mean the Reds shouldn't have a contingency plan in the event he does leave Anfield.

    If that transfer were to happen, here's eight players either already at the club or acquired that could replace Suarez in the short and long-term.

1. Fabio Borini

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    Fabio Borini has made only five league appearances after injuring his foot back in October. He's poised to return around late December or early January.

    With as little as he has featured in the squad, it's like Borini will be a new signing. It's especially true since he's not had much time in the first team whatsoever.

    Having been managed by Brendan Rodgers before, he's obviously familiar with the system Liverpool uses. He'll know exactly what Rodgers will be expecting of him.

2. Samed Yesil

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    Samed Yesil moved from Bayer Leverkusen to Liverpool with a fair amount of hype. He arrived at Anfield this past summer for £1 million.

    He's made a couple of starts for the club in the Capital One Cup this season.

    The attacking talent at the club is allowing Yesil to get used to life in England and accustomed to the club's style of play. With the apparently imminent arrivals of Sturridge and Ince, he could have even more time to adapt.

    A loan move might be best sometime in the near future, but in a few years, Yesil will likely be a fixture in the Reds' attack.

3. Daniel Sturridge, Chelsea

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    This is a transfer that appears all but locked up. The Guardian is reporting that Chelsea are set to sell Daniel Sturridge to Liverpool for a fee around £12 million.

    Sturridge has had a difficult time breaking into the first team at Chelsea. At various times he's been down in the pecking order behind Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Fernando Torres.

    When he was given a sustained run in the first team on loan at Bolton, he scored eight goals in 11 appearances. The next season he started 28 games for Chelsea and scored 11 times.

    At 23 years old, Sturridge's best years are ahead of him. He fits in neatly with the young squad that Liverpool is building. The £12 million transfer fee also allows the club to have a nice sell-on fee should he leave Anfield in the next few years.

4. Tom Ince, Blackpool

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    Much like Sturridge, Tom Ince appears on his way to Anfield. The Daily Mail is reporting that Ince will be joining Liverpool for £6 million.

    The Reds are looking a bit foolish on this one as they let Ince, an academy product, leave 18 months ago. He's a bit symbolic of the club's overall failures in promoting younger players into the first team.

    It's a problem Liverpool has appeared to get past with the emergence of youngsters like Andre Wisdom, Suso and Raheem Sterling.

    Only 20 years old, Ince's been in dazzling form for Blackpool in the Championship. He's scored 13 goals and record nine assists in 19 league games.

5. David Villa, Barcelona

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    Before his move to Barcelona in 2010, David Villa was heavily linked to Liverpool. It always seemed highly unlikely.

    This time around, speculation surrounding the Reds and Villa is quite a bit more realistic. The Spanish striker has seen his role at Barca diminish a bit over the past couple of years.

    He suffered a serious injury at the Club World Cup last year, which kept him out for around eight months.

    Villa may not be the world-class player he once was, but there's no doubt that at 31 years old, he still has quite a bit of quality left.

6. Bafetimbi Gomis, Lyon

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    The fact that Bafetimbi Gomis is available shouldn't be attributed to a drop in production. In 18 Ligue 1 games, the French striker has scored 10 goals.

    Lyon is a club that has had to deal with some financial difficulties. They allowed star goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to leave, so no one at the club is considered untouchable.

    The Daily Mail is reporting that Gomis is only an option for Liverpool if they fail to sign Daniel Sturridge. As it appears by all accounts that the Sturridge deal is signed, sealed and delivered, the odds are much greater that Gomis would move to Chelsea.

7. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Schalke

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    Schalke has been an absolute mess this season. After qualifying for the Champions League last year, they have sit seventh in the table.

    Part of the reason has been the misfiring Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

    The Dutchman scored 29 goals in 32 league games last year. He's only managed five goals in 17 games to start the 2012/13 season. His contract is up at the end of the season, so that might be partly to blame.

    Liverpool have long been targeting Huntelaar, with manager Brendan Rodgers rumored to be looking at a possible £6 million move this January.

8. Fernando Llorente, Athletic Bilbao

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    Fernando Llorente's situation at Athletic Bilbao makes Huntelaar's look possibly rosy.

    Like Huntelaar, Llorente's contract is up at the end of the year. The Spanish striker has made no qualms about the fact that he will be leaving the San Mames at the end of the year, going to so far as to publicly declare his intentions.

    He's long been rumored to be the top target for Juventus, but Llorente himself has said that a move to England would certainly appeal to him.

    Since his contract is expiring, Liverpool would be able to get him for a bargain price. It might make sense to move for him now, considering the interest he'll garner as a free agent in the summer.