Rodgers Must Avoid Tottenham's Mistakes in Replacing Suarez at Liverpool

Nick MillerSenior Writer IIJanuary 28, 2017

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Brendan Rodgers manager of Liverpool applauds the crowd after the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield on May 11, 2014 in Liverpool, England. Liverpool finish as runners-up in the Premier League.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It must be a curious time to be a Liverpool fan at the moment.

Last season was their best in years, coming agonisingly close to winning the Premier League by playing some truly exhilarating football, with a collection of young players that suggested the future, as well as the present, was bright.

However, Luis Suarez has made the journey that seemed inevitable, despite his promises to the contrary, declarations of loyalty to Liverpool and his new contract.

Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

Thoughts will inevitably turn to Tottenham last summer, who like Liverpool sold their best player on the theory that the money could be spent on revitalising the squad, and basically buying a whole new team and that they would emerge stronger, even without Gareth Bale, but obviously things didn't quite work out that way.

Brendan Rodgers is well aware of the dangers. This much is clear, because he commented on the similarities last year, when Suarez very nearly left Liverpool for the first time. Quoted by the Daily Mirror in December 2013, Rodgers said:

Obviously there have been difficulties from Bale leaving. It shows that when you have someone with that X factor, even eight, nine or 10 players can’t replace that.

And that was why we fought like tigers to keep Luis here because he is a top player, he is a performer. There are many good players but very few who perform week in, week out to that level.

Rodgers recognises that Liverpool's team was centred on getting the best from Suarez, which is, of course, understandable given his talent, but now that he's gone, it means they will be forced to change the way they play.

Of course, with the likes of Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic complementing Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool will have some fine attacking talent on which to base another title challenge; but none of them have Suarez's ability to change a game and do so consistently.

Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

The best-case scenario for Liverpool is that they achieve similar results to last season but do so in a different way. They might not be quite as thrilling to watch as last season and might have to win games by controlling them and gradually wearing the opposition down, rather than looking to Suarez to produce something brilliant and exciting.

Rodgers should also be wary of spending all of the money on attacking talent. While, of course, Suarez has to be replaced somehow, whether that's with a group of new players or one big star, their defence was a problem last season. A new centre-back is required, as well as at least one full-back and ideally a true screening defensive midfielder.

The good news for Liverpool is that the spending doesn't seem to be over by a long way. Rodgers confirmed in the Daily Mail that they haven't even touched the near-£70 million received in the Suarez deal yet:

The signings we have made have absolutely no relation to Luis going – these were players that were always earmarked to come in.

We felt last year we never had the depth; we are in the Champions' League this year so we have to ensure we have a strong as squad as possible. Obviously Luis going gives us the clout to go and spend more and we are getting the right type of player in.

Of course, spending lots of money on new players will be exciting, but the fear will always be there that replacing one brilliant player with a collection of other, not quite as good players is a dangerous game.

Rodgers is clearly aware of that, and it will be interesting to see how he goes about avoiding repeating Tottenham's mistakes.