There's been a lot of talk about Liverpool possibly transferring Luis Suarez in the summer after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in late April and drawing the ire of manager Brendan Rodgers in the process.
Rodgers said at the time (via the Daily Mirror):
Players are always replaceable no matter how good they think they are. That’s how football works. Of course there are wonderful talents we’ve seen at this club and others over many years.
But you think if you ever lose a player that you can’t replace them and then the next one comes along.
Rodgers has a point, but there is no telling when that player would come along for Liverpool. Right now, you can't lose Suarez and expect to instantly find a replacement.
Plus, Liverpool is seventh in the Premier League standings as the season comes to a close. That's after finishing eighth last season. The Reds haven't finished better than sixth since the 2008-09 campaign. Suarez has accounted for 28 of Liverpool's 70 goals this season (23 goals, five assists).
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Arsenal lost a player last summer that accounted for a great percentage of their goals in the 2011-12 campaign. That player was Robin van Persie. After finishing third last season, Arsenal is currently in fifth place.
Now, I'm not saying Suarez is Van Persie, but he's still a very explosive player who has been a force for Liverpool this season. You lose him and seventh place in the EPL may actually seem like a dream next season.
It's a bit of Catch-22 for the Reds, of course. You can't consistently trust Suarez on and off the pitch, given his apparent lack of good judgment at times. But if you lose him, you suffer an entirely different kind of headache.
We've seen contenders mold big-time talents with character concerns into team players before. Perhaps Suarez is too far gone to mold at this point, but Liverpool has to try. Rodgers and company need to see what happens next season with the 26-year-old. Losing him now, without a legitimate replacement, is only asking for more disappointment at Anfield.