The Uruguayan departs after 133 appearances, having scored 82 goals—including six hat-tricks. Never sent off, but having been suspended for the equivalent of over half a season during his three-and-a-half-year spell on Merseyside, Suarez has certainly dominated headlines.
For Liverpool, they must now move on, just as they did when any of their former great strikers left the club.
Fernando Torres, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Ian Rush, John Aldridge, Kenny Dalglish, Kevin Keegan, Roger Hunt; they've all been replaced in Liverpool's long and storied history. So will Suarez.
Shirt numbers carry with them the history and heritage of the football club and its former incumbents. No. 7 and No. 9 are the main two at Liverpool.
The fact that Iago Aspas was handed the No. 9 shirt last summer irked me, especially when Daniel Sturridge would have been a far more fitting choice to wear the historic shirt.
Surely it would also make commercial sense in the modern era to have the club's best players wearing the main numbers? There's something just not right with Luis Alberto, Aspas and Oussama Assaidi sporting numbers in the first 11 of the Liverpool squad.
Ok. Big question. Who gets the number 7 and number 9 shirts this season?— Pete (@Pete2482) July 10, 2014
Those three could all depart the club this summer, with Alberto having already left on loan to Malaga. The Reds should ensure that quality players replace their numbers.
The incoming Lazar Markovic could take No. 11, for instance (as long as he doesn't take the No. 50 he wore at Benfica). But who will be a worthy successor for the iconic No. 7?
Of course, Liverpool will be linked with a host of players as direct replacements for Suarez, but most of the names being discussed aren't the playmaker-style that suits the No. 7 shirt.
The No. 7 shirt should be worn by a player who isn't a complete, out-and-out centre-forward but one who is a creative force, too. For the classic Anfield No. 7, see Dalglish, Keegan and Suarez. For the classic No. 9, see Rush and Fowler.
If we buy a star player give him the 7 if not don't waste it!— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) July 11, 2014
Marco Reus, the German attacking midfielder/forward would be a player who would suit the shirt at Liverpool.
But players such as Gonzalo Higuain, Wilfried Bony, Jackson Martinez or Mario Balotelli are No. 9 players.
There is one player who could fit the bill who is already at Anfield: new signing Rickie Lambert. The Liverpudlian wore No. 7 at Southampton and will be an instant fan favourite. It would certainly represent a dream come true for Lambert, wearing the shirt of the iconic players he grew up idolising at Anfield.
Lambert's squad number hasn't been announced yet, possibly waiting until Suarez had left the club in order for him to take over the iconic shirt.
Another option could be Raheem Sterling. The 19-year-old is certainly a player with the potential to grow into the role of Liverpool's No. 7, but perhaps now is too soon.
Lambert would be my choice for now—unless the club can sign a top-quality player to suit the role and status of Liverpool's most iconic shirt number.
It would be nice to have two players fitting of being Liverpool's No. 7 and No. 9 on the teamsheet.
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