Liverpool

Luis Suarez Injury Reinforces Liverpool's Need to Sign Quality Forward in Summer

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Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2014

Luis Suarez's World Cup dream is seemingly hanging in the balance somewhat after the Uruguayan forward picked up a knee injury and had to undergo surgery.

As per BBC Sport, the surgery to repair meniscus damage was a success and the Uruguayan football association hope he will be fit in time to take part in Brazil, with the tournament kick-off less than three weeks away.

While that's great news for his nation, and for the player himself, it doubles up the need for his club Liverpool to make sure they make the most of the summer and sign a top-quality attacker to help and, when necessary, step in for Suarez next season.

 

End of Season Form

Ask any Liverpool supporter and they'll rightly tell you Luis Suarez had a phenomenal 2013/14 campaign, where he jointly won the European Golden Shoe for scoring 31 goals and made a clean sweep of end-of-season awards domestically.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 05:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team' sthird goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on May 5, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

He noticeably, however, suffered a slight dip in form toward the end of the campaign, no doubt borne of the intense stress of the championship fight that Liverpool were involved in and his relentless style of training and playing. Suarez leaves nothing on the pitch; tiredness and dips in form at some point are an inevitability, even for him.

With Daniel Sturridge suffering a similar mini-dip around the same time, Liverpool's options to rest, rotate or swap players around were minimal; even with Fabio Borini probably returning to the squad, Liverpool need another attacking option of top quality who can contribute on a regular basis next season.

 

Surgery Issues

B/R's resident injury expert Will Carroll has underlined just why Suarez should be fine to compete at the World Cup, but also why Liverpool will have to perhaps tread carefully with the forward next season.

My dream remains intact. I will be there. #WorldCup #allin or nothing https://t.co/s05SkqJ1tW

— Luis Suarez (@luis16suarez) May 24, 2014

Increased games, increased stresses on the top players and surgery on their player that Liverpool have not presided over will all be concerns for Brendan Rodgers and his recruitment team to ponder over summer.

Quite possibly, the Reds will have to offer Suarez time to recuperate at different stages next season to ensure there are no long-term effects by the routine, but hurriedly decided, surgery. Again, in that case, they will have to be looking at bringing in an attacking player who can ensure the side can perform to the same level, even if it is not a direct Suarez replacement in tactical terms.

In other words, a very, very good attacking signing, and not Iago Aspas.

 

Champions League and All That It Brings

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 05:  Brendan Rodgers of Liverpool looks on prior to the the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on May 5, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Having qualified for next season's group phase already, the Reds know they'll be bringing in a tonne of prize money and the lure of continental football they couldn't offer prospective recruits this time last summer.

That money needs to be wisely spent, being a finite resource and all, but it also needs to find a balance of players who bring depth to the squad and raise the quality of the starting XI. Not every signing can do both, which is something fans have to bear in mind.

 

Lallana

The potential signing of Adam Lallana, linked with a move to Liverpool by Mirror Football among others, has caused debate among fans over whether he is "good enough" and "worth" the £20-25 million suggested transfer fee.

SWANSEA, WALES - MAY 03: Adam Lallana of Southampton in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Southampton at Liberty Stadium on May 3, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Both questions are somewhat moot; Liverpool need more players of the same level of quality as those already in the first team just to ensure they stay where they are. It's all well and good having Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho perform excellently 30 games a season, but when either is missing, there are limited options to ensure continuity of quality.

So, if Lallana—or Pedro, Shaqiri, whoever else—come in for large fees and rival players for positions, that's fine. Liverpool will play 50-55 matches next term and must be able to change the side without lowering the quality. Victor Moses and Luis Alberto did not offer that flexibility this season.

After those signings, the Reds also need players who can raise the bar even further.

That's where a top-class signing needs to found. As long as the powers-that-be at Anfield realise that Lallana (or whichever other currently linked player) isn't the upper-limit of talent required this summer, there should be no real issue with bringing in those players.

But where Suarez's form, genius and fitness are concerned, there are few real match-winners in the squad who are better than most defences the Premier and Champions League can offer up.

That's why Liverpool must look for a proven, awesome addition to the front line this season—to raise Suarez's game even further, but also to help provide the quality needed when the Uruguayan is missing.

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