More so than in recent seasons, the past year has seen a slew of Liverpool players in, around, or not far off joining the first team being sent out on loan. At times, as during an injury-plagued December and January and again last weekend when facing a Chelsea B-team that cost more than Liverpool's starting eleven, it might have been nice to have a few of those loanees around.
Not all of them will be back next year. Oussama Assaidi is likely to seek a long-term home away from Anfield, with rumours Stoke are seeking to keep him around permanently, while Tiago Ilori and Jordon Ibe are likely to head back out on loan with Luis Alberto joining them. Some, though, will be expected to return and make a difference, and many have high hopes for Fabio Borini and Suso in particular.
"I speak with Brendan regularly, we are always in contact and I'm also in touch with other people at the club," said Suso this week, and fans worried about his long term role at Liverpool will be reassured by the suggestion he isn't seeking to go elsewhere. "For those reasons I still feel part of the club and, when possible, I have watched the majority of their matches this season."
Along with the return of Borini and the likely signing of at least one flexible attacker and one versatile midfielder, Suso's return after a highly worthwhile developmental loan spell back in Spain would help to give the club the viable two-deep options at every midfield and attacking position that will be needed to compete both domestically and in Europe next season.
There may be a case for sending him out again to get another season with 35+ starts, but having had that experience, it seems at least as likely Rodgers will seek to keep him in the fold, further developing the weaker parts of his game in training, cup starts, and appearances off the bench. In the meantime, though, there's still Almeria's survival hopes for the player to focus on.
"It was one of the best goals of my career," he said, reflecting on his late, winning free kick that kept alive the Andalusian club's hopes of remaining in La Liga next season. "Not just because it was a free kick, but because it was so important in regards to the situation of this club."
With three games to go, Almeria are now two points from safety. They won't be favourites, but compared to where they stood prior to their most recent match there is at least cause for hope. Whether Suso can help to keep them up or not, the key role he will continue to play in their fight for survival can only benefit his chances at Liverpool in coming seasons.