Luis Suárez: The making or breaking of Liverpool FC?

Liverpool are going through something of a revolution under Brendan Rodgers, with the Northern Irish manager charged with returning one of English football’s most historic and successful clubs to the glory days.

After a number of seasons without Champions League football, the Anfield outfit have held their hands up for a potential top-four finish this term, with excellent form seeing them a mere two points off top spot after 16 games.

Although the expansive mentality that Rodgers has instilled into the footballing psyche on Merseyside and expenditure on a wealth of new players has played their part, one man is spearheading Liverpool’s drive towards a successful campaign.

Never far away from the headlines for both good and bad reasons, Luis Suárez has cast aside previous controversies this season to showcase exhilarating and sublime individual performances in the Reds’ march up the table.

Despite missing the first part of the season as he served the remainder of his ban for biting Branislav Ivanović, the Uruguay international has hit 17 goals in 11 Premier League games for Rodgers’ men this term.

The South American schemer is undoubtedly the form player in England at the moment, with plenty of prominent figures within the footballing community starting to mention his name alongside the best in the world.

Luis SuárezHis individual ability to do something spectacular and his ability to score regularly is one thing; however, Suárez’s creativity and link-up play has got the best out of others and the Liverpool team as a whole.

All past misdemeanours are forgotten and forgiven by the Anfield faithful, as the ex-Ajax attacker leads the side towards the top four.

However, it is worth considering just how important Suárez is to the club and the potential for the forward to leave Liverpool in the lurch again.

Ahead of this season, Suárez was vocal in his desire to leave Liverpool, with Arsenal and Real Madrid circling to sign the tempestuous striker at great expense.

A U-turn after Rodgers and the powers that be at Anfield dug their heels in has seen Suárez return to action for the Reds, but what will happen if the attacker gets tempted with a move elsewhere come the end of the season?

Rumblings in the press currently indicate that Liverpool are in the process of trying to tie the Uruguayan down to a new, five-year contract, in what will be an acid test to distinguish where Suárez’s priorities lie.

Suárez’s future is inextricably linked with Liverpool’s final position in the Premier League this season, with the campaign’s success or failure sure to have an impact on the club for years to come.

If the Reds can maintain their strong early start and finish in the Champions League qualification berths, there is every chance that Liverpool can kick on and return to the days of being one of England’s biggest clubs.

Suárez would be appeased with the presence of Champions League football, while other top players could be drawn to the club.

However, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City all looking certain to finish in the top four, there may well be only one spot left for Liverpool to fight for. So, what will happen if Everton, Manchester United, Newcastle or Tottenham beat them to fourth?

Suárez may well be a cult figure on Merseyside at the moment, but without Champions League football next term the likelihood of him staying at Liverpool is questionable. He has tried to force a move away from the club in the past, and if Madrid or another European superpower come knocking, the Reds could struggle to keep their prize asset.

The recent trend of mediocrity over recent seasons stemmed from the sale of another star to Real Madrid, when Xabi Alonso left Anfield in 2009.

Whether history will repeat itself or Liverpool are set to stay at the pinnacle of English football will be determined by their league finish this term.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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