Liverpool is still searching for a formidable replacement to the departed Luis Suarez. After Sunday’s fixture against Southhampton, this summer’s big question will finally be answered. Liverpool looked promising without Suarez in the preseason, having defeated Germany’s Brossia Dortmund 4-0 just last week. Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers, who did an outstanding job last year, does not think any player is bigger than the team and he has high hopes for Liverpool this year.
The Reds dominated the opening minutes of the match, with Raheem Sterling creating dangerous situations in the opening minutes. Lucas, rumored to be leaving for Napoli in the summer transfer, was a starter and did not disappoint. He seems to be fully recovered from the injury that kept him out of the lineup most of last year. More importantly, Lucas seems to be psychologically recovered from that injury. Daniel Sturridge could prove to be the answer to whether another striker is needed. After scoring Liverpool’s second goal today, the answer could be “No,” but conventional thinking would indicate it would be prudent to find another world class striker, especially with The Reds participating in Champions League football this year.
Suarez may not need to be replaced immediately, because the team does have an ace in the hole and his name is Raheem Sterling, who scored the first goal of the season against Southhampton Sunday. Sterling scored 10 goals last year for Liverpool and looks to score many more this year. While Liverpool looks to secure another striker, their biggest concern should be to keep Sterling rather than lose him to another team. There certainly should be a number of teams that are looking to lure Sterling away from Anfield.
Liverpool controlled most of the first half versus Southhampton and looked energized after Sterling’s opening goal. They have shown they can control a match, but need to keep their heads tight in the closing minutes of the game. Many Liverpool fans will recall the lapse of concentration in the final ten minutes of the match last year where they gave up three goals and the Premiership. Today’s second half goal and subsequent opportunities, including an open goal miss, by Southhampton indicates this is still a problem.
Solidifying the defense is as important as replacing Suarez and in that regard they signed Spaniard Alberto Moreno from Sevilla. Moreno won the Europa League championship last year with Sevilla and was a close to joining Spain’s national team this year in Brazil.
Liverpool did purchase Striker Rickie Lambert, who coincidentally makes his debut against him former team in the opening weekend of the English Premier League. Lambert spent five years at St. Mary’s, tallying 117 goals in 235 appearances, and the team is hoping to get even better results from the striker.
Liverpool needs to ensure the person that replaces Suarez can fit right in. Having Lambert on the team gives them ensures having someone that is familiar with the EPL and how difficult a league it can be. With Lambert in hand, Liverpool could make a move to obtain a striker from another league. The important thing is not the comfort level of the player, but that a player be purchased sooner rather than later. Certainly waiting for the January transfer window will be too late, but they have proven to be a world class team in the recent past and Brendan Rodger could very well be one of, if not the top, manager of the EPL. Only time will tell if Liverpool can win the Premiership this year and have a formidable performance in The Champions League without Suarez.
Commentary by Steve Salazar