What If Suarez Had Stayed At Liverpool? Football Manager Finds Out…
With most Liverpool fans putting down their recent abject form to the departure of Luis Suarez in the summer, many are wondering how their season would have panned out had the mercurial Uruguayan remained at Anfield.
It’s impossible to determine but we’ve done our best, using the most scientific tools available to us – Football Manager. We’ve sent Suarez back to Liverpool and retained all the summer signings – which they’d probably have needed anyway due to his suspension. We then let the season roll to see if the Reds’ travails would improve with last season’s Premier League top scorer up-front.
During Suarez’s Suspension
Liverpool’s initial league form is decent, with Mario Balotelli and an injury-free Daniel Sturridge firing them to 10 points in their opening five games. Brendan Rodgers favours a 4-4-2 formation in the Uruguayan’s absence.
An Icon Returns
Suarez makes his eagerly-awaited comeback in a home league clash with Stoke City – in the unorthodox position of left-wing. However, he caps his return with a 70th minute winner. He then grabs a brace in his next match, a Capital Cup victory over Chelsea, before interchanging with Sturridge between a central position and the left-wing as free-scoring Balotelli remains undroppable.
In an ominous sign for Liverpool fans, they fail to qualify from their Champions League group even with Suarez, dropping to the Europa League where they overcome unfancied Viktoria Plzen 4-1 on aggregate before dispatching Ajax to reach the Quarter-Finals. However, Roberto Mancini’s Inter Milan prove a hurdle too far as the Reds bow out of Europe 4-2 on aggregate.
League Form After Christmas
Liverpool’s form after Christmas is patchy, following up impressive league wins over the likes Chelsea with defeats to West Ham and Everton. Manchester City knock them out of the FA Cup in a thrilling semi-final and manager Brendan Rodgers comes under increasing pressure. He is eventually sacked at the end of the season, replaced by former Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino.
End of Season
Even with Suarez, Liverpool finish a disappointing sixth, just beating West Ham to a Europa League place. Suarez does manage 28 league appearances, but only notches eight goals, along with a customary red card.
Meanwhile, the much-maligned Balotelli finished the campaign as Liverpool’s top league scorer with 17.