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Luis Suarez: Liverpool's Next Captain?

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Leading Liverpool out for the first time in the league as Captain may have been a surreal moment for Luis Suarez, but it's one that meant a lot to him both personally and professionally.

And on this podium, captain of the football team and el capitan of the futbol team, Luis Suarez.
And on this podium, captain of the football team and el capitan of the futbol team, Luis Suarez.
Paul Gilham

What Liverpool may lack desperately in positional depth they more than make up for in leadership depth. There isn't a shortage of players who can step up to wear the captain's armband should the great Steven Gerrard be unavailable to lead his side on to the pitch, and in December when there was an overlap in injuries between the skipper and those who might normally be next in line for the honour, Luis Suarez was awarded the prestige of the captaincy.

"It was weird – strange," Suarez recollected in an interview with Four Four Two (via the Echo). "I'd never imagined myself as Liverpool skipper. After everything that had happened with me, to retain the support of the club, the coach and my team-mates showed me they were happy to forget and forgive.

"It proved that my commitment to the club and to my team-mates is genuine and that I'm giving the maximum. Everyone here lives to help the club. Being Liverpool captain is something that validates you and makes you feel appreciated because there have been some fantastic leaders here."

Most players at most clubs would consider the captain's armband to be the highest individual honour they could achieve — barring achievements that come with actual trophies — but on a list that includes Gerrard, Sami Hyypia, John Barnes, and Ian Rush in just the last twenty years alone, it means a little something different on Merseyside.

The question of Gerrard's eventual replacement was a subconscious underpinning last summer during the Great Vice-Captain Debate of 2013, and while the Scouse Pirlo's retirement is still a few years off, a choice will have to be made once the skipper hangs up his boots for good. That Suarez has had first hand experience of his captain's leadership through a particularly rocky period of squad stress gives him some incredible insight into the role a captain is asked to play.

"He didn’t talk about me, or through me, in the press, but in person," Suarez said of his interaction with Gerrard during last summer's deliberations. "In those moments I forgot that he was ‘world football great Gerrard’, a Liverpool legend, but as a humble person who spoke to me with all his heart for hours."

Oh to be a fly on that wall. Suarez has, of course, captained for both club and country with Ajax and Uruguay and could easily be amongst Brendan Rodgers' list of candidates once World Football Great Gerrard™ calls it quits. A lot can happen in a few years — Liverpool back in continental competition, attracts top tier talent, wins the Champions League, the usual biz — but the potential successor for Steven Gerrard will be cultivated long before that time comes.