Mon, Jul 14, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Liverpool will do just fine without Suarez: Rodgers

AFP, LONDON

Brendan Rodgers insists that Liverpool will be even stronger next season despite the departure of star striker Luis Suarez, after the Uruguayan striker agreed a £75 million (US$128.4 million) move to Barcelona on Friday.

The 27-year-old scored 82 goals in 133 appearances for Liverpool and his remarkable tally of 31 in 33 league matches last season helped the Reds qualify for the Champions League and come close to their first Premier League in 24 years.

Despite the impressive figures, Suarez’s stay at Anfield was marred by a series of controversial incidents, which included suspensions for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

Suarez landed himself in trouble again in spectacular fashion during the FIFA World Cup when he bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, earning a nine-match international suspension and a four-month ban from all soccer activities.

That latest indiscretion led Liverpool owner John Henry to cash in on Suarez, with the fee to be reinvested in strengthening the squad, and Rodgers expects to reap the rewards.

“I am confident we will improve the team further and will be stronger for this coming season, when we will be competing on all fronts; domestically and in the greatest club competition in the world, the Champions League,” he said.

It is not the first time Liverpool have sparked fears about their future by selling a star forward.

In 1977, Kevin Keegan quit for Hamburg SV, but was replaced with tremendous success by Kenny Dalglish, who later managed the Reds, while Ian Rush’s move to Juventus in 1987 was offset by swoops for Peter Beardsley, John Aldridge and John Barnes.

In both cases, the club went on to win silverware the season after the big-name exits and Rodgers hopes his rebuilding program, which has seen the signings of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Emre Can, will yield similar rewards.

“If there is one thing the history of this great club teaches us, it is that Liverpool FC is bigger than any individual,” Rodgers said.

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