Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Must Win This Season to Keep Luis Suarez Long-Term

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24:  Liverpool FC Manager Brendan Rodgers (L) looks on as Luis Suarez of Liverpool is substituted into the match during the match between the Melbourne Victory and Liverpool at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 24, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Liverpool may be fortunate enough to hang on to Luis Suarez this season, but Brendan Rodgers will need to prove that the Reds can improve if he wants to keep the striker around in the long-term. 

Despite a summer full of reports that the polarizing star wanted to leave Liverpool this summer, Rodgers is now confident that Suarez is happy and understands why the club refused to sell him for anything less than an exorbitant price, per SkySports

Luis is happy. He totally understands the club's point of view. He's in a difficult position in terms of not being able to play because of his suspension - he will sit out the first six games and he will miss playing football.

But he's working hard and remains part of the group. He hasn't been moping about. It's obviously difficult when you come back after a break but he has settled in and has been working well.

For now, that should be great news for Liverpool fans. The 26-year-old is entering the prime of his career. After a 23-goal season in 2012, there's an argument to be made that he should challenge for the scoring title this season. 

That's the kind of transcendent talent that automatically bumps Liverpool to a higher tier than they would be without the Uruguayan national. With the club just about guaranteed to retain his services at least until the next transfer window, the fan base can now breathe a collective sigh of relief.

But, the club isn't out of the woods yet. 

Suarez's issues with the club aren't just going to disappear. The desire to play Champions League football is not going to go away. But, Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard told the Independent that he believes that the club can make it if Suarez sticks around for a year. 

If he was to stay around for 12 months and we achieved a top-four finish, there is no better place in the world to play Champions League football than in front of an Anfield crowd.

You only have to walk around this training ground to see some of the quotes from top players and top managers around the world when they talk about the atmosphere on a Champions League night. For me, surely you want to play Champions League with Liverpool rather than anyone else.

Gerrard is right, to a point. The club does have a rich history, and leading the team back to glory would certainly give Suarez a unique legacy.

However, the atmosphere of Anfield is only going to keep Suarez around for so long. The club is going to have to prove that they can actually get to the Champions League to convince Suarez that Liverpool is the best place for him in the long-term. 

If Liverpool doesn't come up with a Champions League berth this season, it's only a matter of time before Suarez is poached by an even bigger power than Arsenal