Suarez suspension means Lambert must seize Liverpool chance
Spending £4m on bringing Rickie Lambert back to boyhood club Liverpool (7/1 Premier League title chances) may turn out to be the best buy of Brendan Rodgers’ spell at Anfield, because Luis Suarez can play no part in his plans until November.
How prophetic this purchase of an experienced centre forward looks now. While Suarez sits out the first nine fixtures of the Reds’ campaign, Rodgers can rely on Lambert. Why, you ask? In his two seasons in the top-flight, he has netted a total of nine goals against the opponents Liverpool are due to play in the absence of their star striker.
There are some formative fixtures in the Reds’ season, in regards to the title race, during the Suarez suspension. Manchester City and Spurs away back-to-back, not to mention a mid-autumn Merseyside derby at home. Lambert should ably deputise, but is yet to get on the scoresheet against Everton.
With Suarez banned for half the group stage on Liverpool’s return to the Champions League, you have to wonder if they will stand by him again. The Reds are innocent bystanders in his latest bitesize blunder, but the punishment clearly fits the crime.
Uruguay’s claims there is a ‘smear campaign’ against Suarez in the British media are sensationalist nonsense, but may ring true to the player, who may be sick of being cast in a deserved role of pariah. What are his options if he thinks the grass is greener elsewhere?
Suarez could sign for Spanish giants Barcelona, odds-on 4/5 favourites with Coral to be his next club, or El Clasico rivals Real Madrid (3/1), who love that annual marquee signing. What price Suarez joins La Liga champions Atletico Madrid to replace Diego Costa? It’s a 10/1 shot.
Wherever he chooses to play his football during the new season, Suarez shall still be suspended. The ban imposed upon him by FIFA extends to all football, club and country in whatever country. PSG are 7/1 to take him to the French capital, or should Suarez fancy a swanky, tax-free lifestyle (though for the record his income would be levied) in Monaco, they’re 10/1 too.
Coral make the Uruguay talisman a very short 2/1 to be Liverpool’s top scorer in 2014/15, and he still has the unfinished business of winning a major trophy at Anfield. Just don’t expect another PFA Player of the Year award winging its way to him at 16/1.