What Will it Take for Liverpool to Replace Luis Suarez?

Claudio Villa

There's no telling where Luis Suarez will be spending next season, but the discussion about how Liverpool can best replace him has already begun.

Despite what you'll be reading the Sunday press, there haven't been any new developments regarding the future of Luis Suarez; quite a few of the British papers are rehashing and reworking the quotes from Thursday night's press conference in Montevideo to try to create a more concrete narrative, but the truth is that we're going to be dealing with a hell of a lot of uncertainty over the coming weeks and months until something actually, you know, happens. If he ends up staying, the conversation's pretty simple--he plays. A lot. If he doesn't, however, that conversation becomes much more complex, and it's one that's already started in earnest, with a number of names tossed around as pieces of a suitable replacement plan.

The one who seems most likely to arrive is Iago Aspas, who is rumored to be at Melwood on Monday and confirmed officially by the club later in the day. He was an integral part of an extraordinary Celta survival effort, scoring in the 2-0 win away to Valladolid last weekend and providing the assist for Nacho Insa's winner today as they managed to stave off relegation despite sitting bottom of the First Division table two weeks ago. He was effective across the forward areas in both matches, operating both wide and centrally, and maintaining a Suarezesque level of energy throughout.

Another name that'll be appearing with regularity is Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who's apparently been scouted by Liverpool at least a dozen times over the course of the season and will be a target whether or not Suarez takes off. Primarily featuring as an advanced midfielder/forward, Mkhitaryan shined for Shakhtar Donetsk, scoring 25 league goals and turning in a number of solid displays during Shakhtar's run to the round of 16 in the Champions League. He's been linked at various times throughout the past season, but if the Uruguayan does head to pastures new, it's likely that he'd be targeted to help fill some of the void.

There will certainly be others--Luis Alberto, Roberto Soldado, Christian Benteke, Gareth Bale (loljkjk)etc. etc.--and Brendan Rodgers will look within his squad for help as well. Daniel Sturridge can provide goals so long as he's fit and locked in on a consistent basis, Philippe Coutinho will be able to produce the I'm not sure what just happened why is my face melting from the sex and the smooth and the fancy moments, and Fabio Borini will be asked to give the forward line the incisive runs and tireless pressing up top. I'd be surprised if the youngsters got as many minutes as they did this season, but Raheem Sterling, Suso, and Jordon Ibe could all be in the mix for regular time as well.

Liverpool won't be able to replace many of the things that made Luis Suarez so unique if and when he does leave, but it doesn't seem like complete ignorance or naivete to suggest that they can address many of the areas of need his exit would create. Whether or not those tasked with carrying the burden will follow through is another conversation, though all we can ask right now is that there's a plan in place no matter the outcome.

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