Football

Robbie: pool can cope without Suarez

No Luis Suarez, no problem.

Liverpool will still challenge for honours when the new season kicks off next Saturday.

That's the assurance Reds legend Robbie Fowler has for the club's fans after star striker Suarez moved to Spanish giants Barcelona for £75 million ($158 million) last month.

The move followed a controversial World Cup campaign for the Uruguayan hitman, who was banned for nine international matches and four months from all football activities for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in a group match.

After the incident, Fowler told UK radio station TalkSPORT that "you can't defend" Suarez for "dragging the good name of Liverpool through the mud again".

While Fowler described the Uruguayan as a top talent, the 39-year-old suggested Liverpool were better off without him at the club.

"He arrived at the club as a good player and Liverpool progressed with him throughout his three seasons," he told The New Paper yesterday.

"But no player is bigger than the club. Players come and go, but the club remain. What's important now is for the supporters to get behind the club and the team that's there."

There is no denying the massive influence Suarez had at Liverpool.

He scored 69 league goals in three and a half seasons, including 31 last term, when the Reds finished four points behind champions Manchester City.

In March, Suarez also broke Fowler's club record of 28 goals in a single Premier League season.

But Fowler insisted things are looking up for the club.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has signed eight players, including Benfica winger Lazar Markovic (£25m), Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can (£12m) and Southampton trio Dejan Lovren (£25m), Adam Lallana (£25m) and Rickie Lambert (£4m).

MORE TO COME?

Rodgers is also reported to be on the lookout for a world-class striker.

Fowler refused to heed the media speculation and suggested they can do well even without adding a top striker.

"It's an interesting time to be a Liverpool fan," he said.

"The team surprised a lot of people last year.

"Although there's probably more pressure this time round, I think with the signings they've made, there are no doubts they'll do well again."

When asked which signing stood out, he said: "I'm excited about all of them, but I really like the Lambert signing.

"To get an England striker who's proven himself in the Premier League for £4m is great business.

"Then there is Lallana, who impressed everyone last season, and the lad Markovic, who's quick and direct.

"So I'm looking forward to seeing them when the season starts."