x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Brendan Rodgers promises Liverpool ‘stronger for this coming season’

'I am confident we will improve the team further and will be stronger for this coming season,' says Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, despite the departure of Luis Suarez.

Brendan Rodgers shown during a Liverpool training session on May 9, 2014. Andrew Powell / Getty Images / Liverpool FC
Brendan Rodgers shown during a Liverpool training session on May 9, 2014. Andrew Powell / Getty Images / Liverpool FC

Brendan Rodgers says Liverpool will be even stronger in the coming season despite the departure of star striker Luis Suarez.

Suarez agreed a £75 million (Dh470.1m) move to Barcelona on Friday. He will travel to Spain for a medical next week before completing the transfer.

The 27-year-old Uruguayan scored 82 goals in 133 appearances for Liverpool and his remarkable tally of 31 in 33 league matches last season helped Liverpool qualify for the Champions League and come close to winning the English title for the first time in 24 years.

But his stay at Anfield was marred by controversial incidents, which included suspensions for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

Suarez was in trouble again during the current World Cup, when he bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, earning a nine-match international suspension and a four-month ban from all football activities.

That latest indiscretion prompted Liverpool’s owner John W Henry to cash in on Suarez, but the fee will be reinvested in strengthening the squad. Rodgers expects to reap the rewards.

“I am confident we will improve the team further and will be stronger for this coming season, when we will be competing on all fronts; domestically and in the greatest club competition in the world, the Champions League,” he said.

“We are focused on the future, as we strive to continue with the progress we have made and build on last season’s excellent Premier League campaign.”

It is not the first time Liverpool have sparked fears about their future by selling a star forward.

In 1977, Kevin Keegan quit for Hamburg but he was successfully replaced by Kenny Dalglish, while Ian Rush’s move to Juventus in 1987 was offset by successful bigs for Peter Beardsley, John Aldridge and John Barnes.

In both cases Liverpool went on to win silverware the season after the big-name exits, and Rodgers hopes his rebuilding programme, which already has included the signings of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Emre Can, will yield similar rewards.

“If there is one thing the history of this great club teaches us, it is that Liverpool FC is bigger than any individual,” Rodgers said.

“I hope our supporters continue to dream and believe that we are moving forward and with continued improvement and progression, together we will bring the success we all crave and deserve.”

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