Jamie Carragher has revealed that Steven Gerrard was a better player than Luis Suarez, during his time at Liverpool.
Gerrard and Carragher formed the backbone of the Reds side for many years and have formed a close friendship as a result, and the former Liverpool centre-back has revealed that Gerrard was the best player he ever played with at Anfield.
That does not mean to say that the former centre-back, who now works as a pundit for Sky Sports, believes Suarez is a bad player, though, and he did explain that he feels the Uruguayan was better than a list of illustrious attackers he has played alongside.
“Stevie [Gerrard] was the best Liverpool player I played with,” he said. “But Suarez was the best striker, and that’s saying something when you think of those I’ve played with — Fowler, Owen, Torres.”
Suarez left Liverpool this summer to join Barcelona and Carragher says that the entire squad knew he would leave at some point.
The 36-year-old does think that some positives could come out of their former talisman’s departure, too. Suarez leaves a big void up-front for the side, but Carragher believes that the squad is stronger as a result of the club’s summer spending – which has been funded, in part, by his sale.
“He was special but we all knew he would go one day,” the Liverpool legend revealed. “When Real Madrid or Barcelona come in, the player always goes. Ronaldo left United. We lost Alonso and Mascherano. The only one who stayed was Stevie but that’s because he’s a local lad.
“Even with all the controversy at the World Cup, the Liverpool players will be gutted Suarez has gone.
“They are a lesser team without him, but looking at the signings Brendan has made they are probably now a better squad. I saw a stat recently that Brendan made fewer substitutions than any other Premier League manager last season, probably because he was thinking he was better off with those he had on the field."
Despite Carragher’s optimism, Liverpool’s place in the top four looks the most vulnerable.
There is a large chasing pack, who have all strengthened this summer and, although the Reds will be determined not to let go of Champions League football after working so hard to get it back, their task of staying in the top four appears a tough one.
Suarez’s departure leaves a burden on the squad to replace 31 goals and, at the moment, it is hard to see where they will make that up.
The likes of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling will both be expected to step-up this season to compensate for the loss of their top-scorer from last year, but their lack of a secondary striker is a concern.
Rickie Lambert has looked off the pace during pre-season so far and Rodgers has found his search for a potent attacker to be a frustrating one all summer.
The club had agreed a deal to take Loic Remy, but his transfer fell through at the final stages, whilst their ambitious attempts to reportedly sign Falcao in recent times have proved fruitless.
Rodgers has strengthened in other positions, though, and a host of additions have been made at Anfield this summer.
The likes of Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Dejan Lovren all look worthwhile investments, but they will need to adapt to life at Anfield very quickly if they side are to emulate the feats of last season.