Brendan Rodgers was able to keep Luis Suarez at Anfield during his first summer with Liverpool. The manager figures to face a similar struggle during his second offseason with the club and must do everything in his power to keep the talented striker.
Suarez enjoyed another tremendous campaign leading the Liverpool attack. He scored 23 goals and chipped in 10 assists in 33 Premier League appearances, which was good enough to put him in the running for the top individual awards.
Unfortunately, an incident late in the season, in which he was suspended 10 matches for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, overshadowed his success. As has become the case with Suarez, the club often has to accept the good with the bad.
The incident hasn't caused Liverpool to lose faith in him, however. In fact, Rodgers said he's not for sale, and the club's ownership agrees with that stance, reports David Maddock of the Daily Mirror.
Listen, every player has their price but there's certainly no pressure for the club to sell him. We're trying to build that bit of quality so he's not for sale.
I don't have any doubts there will be interest in him this summer, because he's up there.
There's a small percentage of players who are world class and he's in that bracket, so I don’t think it will be too dissimilar to when I first came in last summer, with clubs making their interest known.
People will want to take him, but I think we all recognize how integral he is. The owners have been absolutely unequivocal in their resolve in terms of wanting to keep him.
Obviously, the comment about every player having a price will probably be worrisome to Liverpool fans, but the overwhelming theme of Rodgers' comments is that he wants to keep Suarez and the club is on board with his desire.
It's good news for the Reds because replacing him would be an incredibly difficult, and potentially impossible, task. He's established himself as a top-tier striker with tremendous poise and finishing ability in front of goal.
Those types of players don't come easy. So when a club like Liverpool, which isn't able to spend big every summer like some of its Premier League counterparts, strikes gold with one, it can't afford to let him go.
Along with Suarez, the January addition of Daniel Sturridge, who scored 10 times in 14 appearances after the move, gives the Reds a solid base for their attack heading into next season. Losing Suarez without an elite replacement would shift all the pressure to the former Chelsea striker.
It was clear when Rodgers arrived from Swansea a building process would have to take place. After a slow start to the season, Liverpool made noticeable progress in the second half. Add in signings like Sturridge and the future is getting brighter.
Moving a player of Suarez's caliber would stop that progress in its tracks. So while clubs around Europe will surely check in on his status, as Rodgers expects, Liverpool shouldn't even entertain the idea unless it's truly an out-of-this-world offer.
In other words, unless another club is willing to massively overpay for Suarez, Liverpool should continue to maintain their no-sale stance and keep him on the squad.
Suarez is a vital piece of an improving squad. Liverpool wouldn't be the same without him, so the Reds should do everything in their power to keep him.