Luis Suarez, despite scoring more goals in five months than he did in the whole of last season, is likely to lose his position as Liverpool's central striker to Daniel Sturridge.
Their manager, Brendan Rodgers, said yesterday that Suarez would play "for the common good of the team" which, given his skill and flexibility, is likely to be either on the left of a three-man attack or as a classic No 10, operating behind Sturridge.
"I have spoken with Luis at length about it a number of times," Rodgers said. "This has been the plan for a few months. When he played at Ajax, he played behind the striker as a No 10, in between the lines. He also played as a reverse winger from the left side. Wherever he plays, he will make the same movements and find space because he is a world-class player."
Sturridge is two years younger than the 25-year-old Uruguayan and he is far from world class. Only at Bolton, where he scored eight times in a dozen games in a side that, under Owen Coyle, played in a similar style to Rodgers' Liverpool, has he demonstrated his obvious potential. And, having paid Chelsea £12m for his services, Liverpool are prepared to be tough with him.
After Wednesday night's 3-0 win over Sunderland, in which Suarez took his goal tally to 18 for the season, Rodgers said bluntly that this would be Sturridge's last chance at a "big club". His new captain, Steven Gerrard, argued that there could be no more excuses for failure.
"Daniel has the quality," said Gerrard. "He suffered a bit at Manchester City and then moved to Chelsea, where he has shown flashes of brilliance. I think he is at an age now where he needs to settle down, get a settled club and show consistently what qualities he has got."
A decade after leaving Upton Park for Chelsea, Joe Cole yesterday completed his return to West Ham after two and a half years at Liverpool, who paid up the bulk of the 18 months left on his £80,000-a -week contract. Cole is expected to earn around £50,000 a week at West Ham.
Despite the fact that West Ham are a very different club to the team full of glittering talent that somehow got itself relegated in 2003, Cole will play more at Upton Park than he ever did under three managers at Anfield. His successful loan spell at Lille, who could not afford to make him a permanent signing, suggested that at 31 Cole still has something to offer his boyhood club.
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