Luis Suarez's Absence Will Provide Long-Term Benefit for Liverpool

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool runs with the ball 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

After an offseason full of negative headlines, Liverpool are now showing they are more than just Luis Suarez.

The talented forward has been serving a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic at the end of last season. He should be able to return at the end of September in the Capital One Cup match against Manchester United, according to The Guardian.

This is assuming he remains on the roster after the Sept. 2 transfer deadline, something that seemed much less certain a few weeks ago. Suarez had asked for a move to Arsenal and was eventually sent away from the first team for his disrespect to his current club, according to Andy Hunter of The Guardian.

Amazingly, this has not ended up becoming a distraction for a squad that has gotten off to a great start in the Premier League.

In two matches, Liverpool has two 1-0 wins with Daniel Sturridge representing the scoring in each one. Manager Brendan Rodgers also pointed out the club has been playing extremely well since last January, according to Mike Whalley of ESPN:

If you look at our numbers since we last played Manchester United in January, there’s the improvement. That’s where we’ve really kicked on.

The big thing for us is consistency. For when we played them in January, we’ve had 18 Premier League games each. They’ve won 11, we’ve win 10. They’ve drawn five games, we’ve drawn six. And we’ve both lost two games.

For us, it’s a case of continuing with that consistency. If we can do that, then I think we can compete with them.

A good amount of this has been without Suarez, which gives the club confidence to believe they can achieve great things. If you can perform this well without a top player, imagine what can be done with him.

However, the players on the pitch are gaining more than just confidence, they are also gaining valuable experience that could not be achieved with a full roster.

As good as Suarez is, he has a knack for doing too much dribbling in traffic while looking for his own shot. This not only slows down the offense at times, but it hinders the development of young players who end up missing out on touches.

Instead, players like Sturridge have been able to shine at the start of the year. Besides getting a goal in each Premier League match, the 23-year-old player also scored twice in the club's win in the Capital One Cup.

The former Chelsea forward is finally getting a chance to shine, and he has proven he can be a legitimate star in the league. This will not only give Liverpool a great one-two punch up front when Suarez returns, but it makes the Uruguayan star more expendable in upcoming transfer windows.

Of course, the Reds have seen good performances from other players all over the pitch. Philippe Coutinho is another young forward showcasing his talent in an open field, while Iago Aspas is proving to be a solid acquisition after coming over from Celta Vigo.

These players might have been overlooked if Suarez were able to play. Instead, they are also proving to be part of the future at Anfield.

Finally, the fact the superstar has been away from the pitch has allowed the club to focus on football instead of transfer rumours. This helped them mentally as they were able to better prepare for matches.

The past few games have shown the Reds will be in good shape whether Suarez remains with the club or not. If he is sold, the group might need another year or two to be legitimate Premier League contenders, but the talent is there to succeed. 

If the forward does return when expected, Liverpool will be adding one of the top scorers in the world to a roster that has proven itself without him. This group can now be expected to legitimately contend for a top-four spot in the league.

This is certainly not something that could be said with confidence a month ago.

Suarez's absence allowed other players to shine in a pressure-free environment, giving confidence for the future. No matter what happens going forward, this incident has ended up being a positive for an improving club.


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