Liverpool are in defiant mood, a continuation of their firm stance in the summer. It was reasonable to expect Luis Suarez to move on next summer, we’ve seen players give “one more season” to their clubs before moving on: Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas. But Liverpool are not looking to continue that trend.
Suarez has been the standout performer in the Premier League this season, leading the scoring charts and helping Liverpool to a potentially season-defining win at Tottenham on the weekend and second place in the Premier League. That’s all after having missed the first five league games of the season.
Fenway Sports Group are not keen on opening contract talks during a season, preferring to wait until summer. But with Suarez inside the last two years of his deal once the season ends, the club are looking to prolong his stay and avoid a repeat of this past summer window.
Would it be a catastrophic loss? Yes, but only initially. The club would lose a player who many believe is the best in the Premier League and among the top five in Europe. There’s a period of lamentation, perhaps even to such an extent whereby the club simply loses its footing both in the pursuit for Suarez’s replacement and at the start of the new campaign. Though think what it will do for Liverpool if they are able to keep the Uruguayan into next season and with a string of new additions.
But it’s also difficult to believe that Liverpool couldn’t continue to move forward even without Suarez on the books. Real Madrid are likely to head the race for his signature in the summer; it seems unlikely that Liverpool would sell to a domestic rival. What’s Suarez currently worth? Cough up a number and then add £20-£30 million onto that figure primarily because you’re dealing with Real Madrid and Florentino Perez, who appears to have a hunger for the lavish and extravagant.
Liverpool’s aim for this season is simple: get into the Champions League. UEFA’s top club competition can act as the perfect springboard to keep the club in the top four in the Premier League and build a squad of undeniable title contenders. It will involve plenty of smart planning and a complete contrast to what happened during the summer of 2011. The money brought in from the Champions League and Suarez’s sale, combined with the club’s additional revenue, will give Brendan Rodgers the tools to keep Liverpool on an upward trajectory. There’s heartbreak in losing such a good player, but it’s far from a decisive nail in the coffin if the club know how to reinvest.
Liverpool are in a fine position to start negotiating a contract extension for Suarez. He alone is good enough to help them into the Champions League, where he wants to be, and such has been the club’s leap from last season to this, it could be possible to mount a serious title charge next season.
But if that should fail and Suarez persists with his desire to move away from Anfield, it won’t be the end of the world. Liverpool will be well-placed to re-evaluate their position and continue to push on.