It's easy to forget--at least for me--the role that Suso played in the first half of Brendan Rodgers' first season at Liverpool. Failings in the transfer window left the new manager with a small squad, forcing him to turn to a triumvirate of academy players. Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom, and Suso were mainstays throughout the fall and into the winter, and while none of the trio played regularly in the second half, they were important figures during a difficult time.
But last season only Sterling remained, with both Wisdom and Suso heading out on loan to gain experience. The former had a relatively smooth, successful spell at Derby County, but for the latter, the time away proved slightly more turbulent as playing time fluctuated during the middle of the season. Overall, though, he got regular, important minutes, and he returned to Liverpool at season's end with hopes of contributing to Rodgers' squad once August 17th rolls around.
On the heels of his first goal for the senior squad against Preston yesterday, he underlined his intentions, noting the need for increased responsibility and commitment in order to secure his spot:
"It was a very nice moment for me. I've been waiting a very long time to score a goal and I'm happy. The team put in a good performance and we have to be happy. I've been waiting so long now to score a goal for Liverpool. Last season while I was on loan in Spain I was watching Liverpool play on the TV and wanting to score a goal for them and now I've got one."
"I really want to be here and play for Liverpool and I'm trying to do my best every day in training and show the manager what I'm capable of. I learned a lot during my loan spell and I was playing regular football. I'm not really a young player anymore so I've got more responsibilities now and I will work as hard as I can to try and get a chance."
The chances should be there, with Liverpool set to compete on four different fronts this season, and assuming the club don't send him off on loan again, we should expect to see him of the bench in the Premier League and Europe, with starts expected in domestic cup competition. That's going to have to be the reality at the start of the season, it seems, and any additional opportunities are going to be the product of the hard work he mentions.