• Premier League

Liverpool can't afford to ditch Suarez - Rio

ESPN staff
June 29, 2014
Suarez speaks out

Rio Ferdinand has told Brendan Rodgers he needs to keep Luis Suarez at Liverpool - even though the striker will miss the start of the season as he serves a four-month ban.

Suarez has been linked with an £80 million-pound move to Barcelona despite being sent home in disgrace from the World Cup after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini - his third suspension for such an offence in the space of four years.

Former Manchester United defender Ferdinand admits moving Suarez on makes financial sense in case he re-offends and gets an ever longer suspension, but believes the reigning PFA Player of the Year's talent makes him indispensable at Anfield.

"If I were the Liverpool manager there wouldn't be a moment's doubt about what to do next with Luis Suarez. I'd keep him," Ferdinand wrote in his Mail on Sunday column.

"Leave aside, just for a moment, questions of morality or whether his ban is long enough and what is going on is his head to make him do these extraordinarily bad things.

"Purely and simply from a football perspective, what he does for you on the pitch - and I don't mean biting people - makes him indispensable.

"And with the season Liverpool have ahead of them, that's truer than ever. They had a brilliant 2013-14, pushing for the title when many people thought they might struggle to get into the top four. Although they didn't win it, they were superb, with Suarez the single most significant reason for that.

"The Premier League will be at least as tough next season, probably much tougher with Louis van Gaal at a new-look Manchester United, and Liverpool will have Champions League football, too, so any manager at Anfield would want Suarez in the team.

"So that's the football decision. It's an easy one to make.

"But if I were the chief executive or the money man at Liverpool, I'd have him up for sale already. The issue is one of risk and what might happen in the future given a pattern of behaviour. Keeping Suarez may potentially cost Liverpool tens of millions of pounds. Perhaps £70 million or more.

"How so? If he went somewhere else this summer - Spain, I guess, with Barcelona and Real Madrid showing recent interest and having the money - Liverpool cash in on their biggest asset. Yes, it will be a tough ask to replace such quality, but if all the proceeds and more were re-invested in a proven striker, it might make sense.

"If Liverpool don't sell him and he bites someone else after his ban ends, he could be thrown out for years."

Ferdinand is available on a free transfer after leaving United and has been tipped to join newly-promoted QPR but said he is keeping his options open at the moment.

He added: "I'll be playing on next season at a new club but I remain uncertain where that will be. I would have liked it wrapped up last week but these things are never as simple as they seem.

"New opportunities have presented themselves and it's only right that I give everything proper consideration.

"I'm still speaking to a number of clubs in England and other countries. I'm sure it will be resolved soon."

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