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Official: Liverpool Confirm Suarez Departure

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For anyone who still had doubts, it's now official: Luis Suarez is leaving. He is expected to sign a five-year contract with Barcelona within the next week. His goals will be missed; his controversies won't be.

Laurence Griffiths

Liverpool have today confirmed the departure of Luis Suarez, whose transfer to Barcelona is expected to be officially completed within the coming week after the Spanish side agreed to pay a transfer fee equal to the striker's £75M buyout clause. The club released a brief statement on the matter:

Liverpool FC confirms that Luis Suarez will be leaving the club after a transfer agreement was reached with FC Barcelona. The player now has permission to complete the usual formalities, which will then conclude the transfer.

We would like to thank Luis for his contribution and the role he played in helping bring Champions League football back to Anfield.

Suarez will now sign a five-year deal with Barcelona. Though his four-month blanket ban from all football-related activities means a grand unveiling at the Camp Nou is tricky, there's nothing to stop Suarez posing at his home in a Barcelona shirt and the club Photoshopping an official club crest in behind him.

Suarez' contributions helped Liverpool to return to the Champions League, and the club have managed to get a fee equal to his release clause despite Barcelona's desire to get a "bite discount" for the controversial Uruguayan. For that, Suarez deserves thanks and the club deserves credit.

What comes next for Liverpool, though, will be the important part, and the club must reinvest wisely to hold on to the top four gains of last season. And what comes next for each fan will be to decide how they remember Suarez—as goalscoring saviour or as the repeat offender who spent last summer agitating for a move away.

For most, perhaps, it will be something in between. He was a brilliant player to watch. He was also a massive headache and potential liability. And the club will move on without him just as it did following the departures of Michael Owen and Fernando Torres, Liverpool's last two superstar strikers.