Life Without Suarez
Liverpool were left resigned to the fact that they will be without their star striker Luis Suarez for the remainder of this season and the first 6 matches of next season after accepting the FA’s 10 match ban for his infamous bite on Chelsea defender Ivanovic in last weekend’s match at Anfield.
Although Liverpool felt aggrieved to be dealt a lengthy ban for their player, they did the correct thing by accepting the ban and by moving on and putting an end to the matter. The big question now is, who will score the goals for Liverpool ?
Luis Suarez has been in outstanding form for Liverpool this season and his goal scoring record of 30 goals in 44 competitive games has been invaluable to the Anfield side. Liverpool were so reliant on Suarez for the first half of this season as Liverpool were short of recognised strikers with the departure of Kuyt, Bellamy and Andy Carroll moving to West Ham United on loan for the whole season. Liverpool missed out on Clint Dempsey on the last day of the transfer window as he chose to sign for Spurs instead and Liverpool’s new signing Fabio Borini broke a foot early in the season to compound Liverpool’s striking problems.
Liverpool’s striking problems have eased slightly in January when they signed Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea and he has linked up well with Suarez and has now scored 8 goals in 13 matches for his new club after his double on Saturday.
Well Saturday was Liverpool’s first match without Suarez as they travelled to Newcastle and they did pretty well. They not only won, but they scored 6 without reply, in what was Newcastle’s heaviest defeat since the 1920’s.
Daniel Sturridge replaced Suarez in attack in what was manager Brendan Rodgers only change to the team that faced Chelsea the previous week. Liverpool were very impressive in a one sided match that they dominated against a poor Newcastle team. Sturridge scored 2 goals in an impressive striking performance where he linked up with the incisive passing of Liverpool’s midfield on numerous occasions. Sturridge produced a striking performance that would have pleased Brendan Rodgers immensely as he held the ball up before linking up with Liverpool’s advancing midfielders. The way Sturridge played off the shoulder of Newcastle’s last defender was also encouraging as he gave the likes of Coutinho and Gerrard a target to hit behind the defence. The 2 goals was just the icing on the cake from his impressive performance and it was good to see him unhappy to be replaced by Jonjo Shelvey late in the game as he wanted his hat-trick.
Sturridge has stated in the past that he wanted to play through the middle as a striker and supposed to be part of the reason that he left Chelsea in January because he was used mostly out wide at Stamford Bridge as his chances were limited at playing through the middle.
Sturridge must be Rodgers’ number one striker now and this is a great chance for the former Chelsea man to play in his more favoured position. The only concern is his fitness as there has been a few niggling injuries since his arrival in January . So if Sturridge stays healthy Liverpool might not miss Suarez’s absence too much.
But Liverpool got lucky with Suarez in the early part of the season when he was the only striker because he is very resilient and stays free of injury. But Liverpool might not be so lucky with Sturridge and his resilience, so they need other options.
Fabio Borini has been very unlucky with injuries since joining Liverpool and it was a bonus for Liverpool to see him back in action on Saturday and even better to see him score his first League goal for his new club.
Borini’s return gives Brendan Rodgers another option in attack and the Italian will be eager to make up for lost time in a frustrating and disrupted first season at Anfield.
The summer will no doubt see players come and go at Anfield and the striking department could be an area that Rodgers will want to strengthen, especially with Suarez’s ban continuing into the new season.
Andy Carroll is a subject of much speculation as he looks like returning from his loan spell at West Ham United in the summer, but there is also much talk of him returning to his native town of Newcastle for a second spell at his home town club.
Brendan Rodgers doesn’t seem to fancy Carroll and he wasn’t long farming the big striker out on loan, even with strikers in short supply in his squad. Andy Carroll has played pretty well in his time at West Ham after a few injury problems earlier in the season and he has managed to weigh in with 7 goals in 21 appearances for the Hammers.
Some footballing experts believe Andy Carroll would be ideal for Liverpool’s attack as many attacks from Liverpool in wide positions end up with wasted crosses into the opposition box with no target to hit. Carroll’s physique and style of play would also give Liverpool an option of a plan B that has been lacking in certain games this season when Liverpool have struggled.
But if anything is to be acknowledged from Saturday’s win at Newcastle then it must be that the dependency on one player was quashed as different players got into attacking positions and this was proved by the number of different goal scorers.
Suarez’s absence could be a blessing in disguise and make Liverpool a more difficult team to predict if they are going to produce attacks through different players getting into forward positions and when Suarez returns to the team next season he will only strengthen the attack that has learned to live without him. So there could be many positives to come out of Suarez’s ban that many thought would be a disaster for Liverpool Football Club highlighting the saying “that no player is bigger than the club”.