Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates has said it was difficult for Luis Suarez to leave Liverpool for Barcelona, but has told the Liverpool Echo that his fellow Uruguayan was fulfilling a dream by moving to the Nou Camp.
Coates hopes his friend can have his ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup reduced, after he was banned from all footballing activities for four months, and has backed the Reds to cope in his absence. Suarez scored 31 goals in the Premier League last season, and picked up two player of the year prizes from the Football Writers Association and the Professional Footballers Association.
Coates said: “I spoke to Luis recently and he is enjoying his time in Barcelona. We are still good friends. It's a great club for him. He always wanted to be there.
“I know it was really difficult for Luis to leave Liverpool as he enjoyed his time at the club. He was very grateful for the support he got but going to Barcelona was his dream.
“I think Liverpool will be able to cope. We still have other great players like Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho.
“I don't know what will happen but I hope it [the ban] will be reduced so Luis can play sooner."
As it stands, Suarez will not be able to make his Barcelona debut until late October but he is currently going through the Court of Arbitration for Sport in order to try and get the ban reduced.
Suarez was a fans' favourite at Anfield and very well supported despite his indiscretions, and is hard to replace. Coates knows what else the Liverpool team has to offer in the coming season as life has begun following Suarez's departure.
The defender has added that just because his friend has left the club, doesn't mean that he is also seeking a move away from Merseyside - but he is going to find competition for places very intense, and an opportunity for a run of games in the side hard to come by.
Will Liverpool cope without Suarez this season?