Brendan Rodgers has admitted Liverpool "did everything" to keep Luis Suarez at Anfield, but the will of the Uruguayan striker rendered his Barcelona move impossible to stop.
The controversial forward—who netted 31 goals during the Reds' run to second in the Premier League last season—no longer wished to represent the Anfield club, according to Rodgers. His comments were reported by the Liverpool Echo and via Sky Sports:
We did everything we could as a club to keep Luis.
He wanted to go and play in Spain, and unfortunately when a player no longer wants to play for you, we need as a club to look at it. It was his decision for him to go, he's gone to Barcelona, a club he wanted to play for and now we'll move on.
Suarez's departure is sure to fill many supporters with mixed emotions. He leaves behind a legacy of prolific goals and contribution to Liverpool's reemergence as a Champions League team, but also an unsavoury list of behavioural mishaps.
Charged with racially abusing Patrice Evra, Suarez also started the 2012-13 season banned for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. Inexplicably, he heads into the 2014-15 campaign with a four month suspension for the same activity—this time biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup—as reported by the Press Association and via the Guardian.
This ensures Suarez cannot take part in any footballing activity until November, including training with his teammates. Rodgers insists this had nothing to do with his sale, per Sky Sports:
I'm not sure if he would have gone regardless of the World Cup. But I never felt that towards the end of the season, and likewise he never said he would give us another year either. He had obviously signed a new deal so we had that.
Rodgers' acknowledgment of "great service" from the Uruguayan forward will remind many that Suarez needs to be replaced.
It's unlikely the club will find a player who offers the same type of wriggling elusiveness he so easily utilises when on the ball. Suarez's dribbling skill, control and finishing ability puts him among the world's best, as his game combines pace, lethality and ambition to ensure defenders are on the back foot.
Rickie Lambert, Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic have headed to Merseyside so far this summer. This collection of players have been selected to begin filling the chasm left by Suarez, but also to offer Liverpool a different approach.
Former Reds striker John Aldridge believes the club may struggle, despite having the cash to soften the blow, reported by BBC Sport:
We have to go and get the right players. In Brendan Rodgers we trust. With the stash of money he's got, you're looking at a kitty of £110 million, which can do a lot of damage. Whether you'll get anybody who can do a lot of damage who can get 30 goals is very debatable.
While a sense of helplessness is sure to have descended upon many Liverpool fans after Suarez's departure—most supported the striker through his troubles—Rodgers is certainly the man to navigate beyond the obstacle. His tactical nous and positive style of play significantly improved the club's output last season and it is exciting to see the Northern Irishman continue to sculpt his own squad.
Suarez would have been part of this in an ideal world, but his exit ensures the well-loved club can finally move beyond the irritating newspaper headlines and media spotlight brought on by his presence.
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