Brendan Rodgers has vowed to make Liverpool stronger and insisted there are no regrets about sanctioning Luis Suarez’s sale to Barcelona.
Suarez’s £75million move was confirmed yesterday but his four-month stadium ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup means he could not be unveiled by head coach Luis Enrique and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta.
While Enrique and Zubizarreta were fielding questions in Spain about the Uruguay striker’s character flaws, a shadow Liverpool squad lost their opening pre-season game 2-1 against Brondby. Afterwards, Rodgers was eager to bring closure to the Suarez affair.
It has been argued that Liverpool’s ambitions will be compromised by losing the 31 goals which Suarez (below) scored last season. But Rodgers countered that they are not a one-man team and believes the four signings he has made — with the promise of more to come — will maintain their progress.
‘In my short career as a manager I have lost people who I thought would be key players,’ said Rodgers. ‘But then you go away, reflect and ensure you bring in the right replacement. Always, after that, my teams have been better teams.
‘Luis missed a lot of our games but we still won a lot of those games so we just have to move on. We have loved working with a fantastic player, but a player who obviously benefited from our work at Liverpool.
‘He’s gone and we won’t dwell on it. This is Liverpool, not a small club but one of the great ones in world football. We had great service out of Luis but it’s one we can’t worry too much about now. There is a lot of work going on to get in the right player. We have every confidence in the group we have, plus we will bring in more signings. Hopefully they can improve to the levels Luis Suarez improved.’
Rodgers has signed Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Lazar Markovic and Emre Can, who missed the defeat to Brondby after turning his ankle.
The next target is Ben Davies. Tottenham have had a £10million bid accepted for the Swansea left back but Liverpool will match it and are confident Davies will choose Anfield.
This will be a summer of change at Anfield, with other targets including QPR’s Loic Remy and Southampton defender Dejan Lovren, but there is no question there will be a period of adjustment following Suarez’s exit.
Rodgers was forced to tackle a number of contentious issues because of Suarez’s behaviour but there was no sense that Liverpool’s manager felt relieved to see a man who was voted PFA and FWA Player of the Year depart.
‘I have great respect for Luis as a person and player, I know him deeper than most,’ said Rodgers. ‘He was a good man, a great performer for Liverpool and hopefully I have played a part in his progress.
‘He’s gone to Barcelona, a club he wanted to play for, and now we’ll move on. Believe me, it will be a really exciting season for us.’
Stoke believe they can sign Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi for £4m up front. – Daily Mail