Liverpool isn’t Luis Suarez’s final destination in football; we can all agree on that. Regardless of how well the team are performing and the hopes of a top four finish come the end of the season, the Uruguayan is going to be off sooner or later.
Does that impact Liverpool’s plans for this season and beyond? Well not really. The club know where they have to be. Even with the Suarez saga rumbling on throughout the summer, Liverpool went ahead and addressed other areas of the pitch. The goalkeeping problem was resolved, shipping out Pepe Reina on loan in favour of Simon Mignolet. Whether it was a good investment or not – and I believe it is – the club have also bought a centre-back in Mamadou Sakho who can help form a long-term base. Other additions may also prove to be good, but it’s not the end result; far from it.
The situation with Suarez doesn’t change if Liverpool qualify for the Champions League. Can anyone say with absolute certainty that Liverpool could win the Premier League title? No, because others are stronger, and by quite a distance. The club know where they stand on that front.
The Daniel Sturridge situation – and it’s not that there is one – differs greatly. Yes, other teams may look to him come the end of the season, with or without Champions League football at Anfield, and say he’d be a good investment. That could happen, but I don’t believe there are too many at Liverpool worrying.
Sturridge isn’t Suarez; nowhere near. He isn’t the same kind of commodity, both in ability and marketing value. He’s a promising player who could yet improve, but to suggest that Liverpool could lose Sturridge without Champions League football would be to suggest that in all of football, there aren’t better options for clubs to pursue. There absolutely are.
Liverpool are in a transition, as annoying as that phrase may be in the game. The team’s current position in the league table is a bonus, as very few could have predicted they’d be where they are at present. But that doesn’t mean that the building project is over. If the team finish in the top four, that would not be an indicator that the team is good enough to finish in the top four again next season, and so on. Regardless of where they finish come May, the club will continue to support Brendan Rodgers in strengthening the side. Another striker is needed, because as said, we can all agree that Suarez will leave. Further additions in midfield are also important, namely a creative player to alleviate responsibility on Coutinho. The job isn’t done, and Champions League football won’t dictate what happens in the summer.
But in a wider context, Liverpool are not an isolated case, nor can Champions League football save teams from selling their most valuable assets.
Arsenal have had to sell in the past despite always being in the Champions League. It’s not that they’ve wanted to, but Arsenal’s Champions League “pull” could do nothing when Barcelona came calling, and not just for Cesc Fabregas.
Juventus are another good example. Back-to-back Serie A champions, and yet Italy’s financial state in comparison to other nations simply won’t allow for them to retain some of their key players. It’s the way football is.
Liverpool will fight to stay on course for the top four, and realistically, you’d expect that Champions League football is the height of the club’s ambitions this season. But European football certainly won’t stop the biggest clubs coming in for Luis Suarez.
Will Champions League football save Liverpool from having to sell Suarez?
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