As Liverpool seek solutions for Suarez's prolonged absence, could the return of a former star be the answer?
Ten games is a long time to be without your star striker.
The four matches at the back-end of a campaign with nothing left to play for may be an excuse to experiment with alternatives. But the six at the start of next season are crucial for a Liverpool side losing ground on the growing number of sides above them.
In a previous article, I wrote that Liverpool fans should prepare themselves for another year of disappointment; that the sides currently above them will only strengthen further this summer, leaving Liverpool challenging for fifth-place at best.
But that was before the announcement of Luis Suarez’s ten-game absence. Now, Liverpool are without one of their two talismans for the start of a campaign that could determine how long Brendan Rodgers remains at the helm.
The manager is no doubt drawing up a list of possible new signings already, a list heavy with strikers in the wake of Suarez’s latest indiscretion.
Even before the Uruguayan had a late lunch on Branislav Ivanovic’s arm, a new forward was a must for the Reds. Despite the return of Fabio Borini, a prolific frontman had to be signed to keep Liverpool among the elite.
But whoever Rodgers had lined up – and my money is on Wilfried Bony – he now needs a short-term fix with the potential to be a long-term solution.
He needs someone who knows the Premier League, who knows Liverpool, who could score the goals while the new signings settle and stand in if and when Suarez continues his habit of inexplicable idiocy.
That man is Fernando Torres.
And I know that won’t be the feeling of everyone. Perhaps I am the only one. But it isn’t as crazy as it appears.
Torres hasn’t been Torres for quite a while. I think I remember seeing him sometime around 2010. And yet should Liverpool come in for him, it could be a move that rejuvenates both parties.
Having scored 81 goals in 142 games in his first spell at Anfield, his form since leaving has not befitted a man with a £50million price tag.
And yet this season has seen something of a renaissance. And while still not the Torres of four years ago, he is far better than the player he has been in recent campaigns.
Chelsea will sign a striker this summer, of that there is no doubt.
Whether that be Radamel Falcao, Hulk or someone else entirely remains to be seen, but with the presence of Demba Ba and the possible return of Romelu Lukaku, Torres could find himself some way down the pecking order.
At 29, he still has much to give. And he would surely revel in a return to a club at which he excelled.
Plus he would be considerably cheaper than the sum they received for him in 2011.
Some people say you should never go back. And perhaps Torres will follow through with his claims that he will be at Chelsea for at least the next three seasons.
But Rodgers could do worse than inquire for the player. It could be a perfect solution for all concerned.
Do you think Torres would ever return to Liverpool? And if not, who would you sign this summer?
image: © Nigel Wilson