Revisiting Liverpool’s 9 Luis Suarez replacements from 2014

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Mario Balotelli during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Burnley at Anfield, Liverpool, September 2014.

Luis Suarez is regarded as one of the best strikers to ever play for Liverpool – so replacing him was always going to be difficult.

After Suarez was sold to Barcelona, Liverpool reinvested the money and signed not one but nine new players in the summer of 2014.

We’ve taken a look at how those nine players have fared over the last seven years.

Rickie Lambert

Lambert was released by Liverpool as a 15-year-old but completed a fairytale return to his boyhood club 17 years later after establishing himself at Southampton.

The striker failed to make a major impact and lasted only one year at Anfield, scoring three goals in 36 appearances in 2014-15.

“It was great,” Lambert told Bristol Live in May 2020. “I returned to my home city as a different person than when I left. I was a lot more professional of course. And it went okay at first, I scored a couple and was quite happy.

“But I could tell that the players were all shocked at losing Luis Suarez, and how much of their game revolved around him. I was never going to replace someone like that, was I? Going in after him was hard, very hard.”

After spells of the same length at West Brom and Cardiff City, he announced his retirement in 2017.

Dejan Lovren

Liverpool used Southampton as their own personal shopping centre in the summer of 2014 and spent £20million on Lovren, reuniting him with Lambert and Lallana.

The centre-back was often a much-maligned figure at Anfield but stuck around long enough to win the grudging respect of Liverpool’s fanbase. 

He joined Zenit Saint Petersburg for £10.9million in 2020 and enjoyed a dream start at his new club, winning the Russian Super Cup on his debut and featuring at the heart of their defence as they retained the Russian title in 2020-21.

“I never regret anything and this is a feeling I don’t allow in my head,” Lovren told Zenit’s official website in January 2021.

“I made the decision to leave Liverpool. I wasn’t feeling happy there towards the end, because I wasn’t playing. I am happy that I decided to come here and I think they miss me more than I miss them.

“Jurgen Klopp knows that, we sometimes chat and he once wrote to me that he misses me. I did not answer that.”

READ: Ranking every Liverpool CB signed since Jamie Carragher retired in 2013

Adam Lallana

Lallana was signed for £25million on the back of an excellent season for Southampton, registering nine goals and eight assists in 38 Premier League appearances in 2013-14. 

The midfielder was fundamental to the start of the Anfield revival under Jurgen Klopp but untimely injuries eventually took their toll.

He received a Premier League winners medal in 2019-20 before joining Brighton on a free transfer in search of regular first-team football.

Emre Can

Can joined Liverpool from Bayer Leverkusen and established himself as a regular in the side, making 166 appearances across four seasons.

After allowing his contract to run down, he signed for Juventus on a free transfer in 2018 and ended his first season in Turin as a Serie A champion.

The midfielder fell out of favour under Maurizio Sarri and joined Borussia Dortmund in 2020 despite reported interest from Manchester United.

Lazar Markovic

Markovic was regarded as one of Europe’s brightest young talents but failed to justify his £20million price tag, scoring three goals in 34 appearances for the Reds.

After loan spells at Fenerbahce, Sporting Lisbon, Hull City and Anderlecht, he joined Fulham on a permanent deal in January 2019, only to be released by the Cottagers a few months later.

The Serbia international then returned to boyhood club Partizan Belgrade and found some form again back home. He scored 12 goals in 27 appearances as the club finished runners-up in the Serbian SuperLiga.

Markovic now plays for Turkish Super Lig club Gaziantep.

 

Divock Origi

After Lallana and Lovren left Liverpool in 2020, Origi was the last man standing from the nine players that joined Liverpool eight years ago. 

The striker arrived at Anfield as a hot prospect but his time at the club looked over following disastrous loan spells at Lille and Wolfsburg. 

He’s since turned things around to become a Liverpool cult hero, scoring memorable goals against Everton, Barcelona and then against Tottenham in the 2019 Champions League final.

Origi left in the summer for AC Milan but his place in Liverpool folklore is secure…

Divock Origi of Liverpool celebrates scoring the winning goal against Wolves at Molineux, Wolverhampton. 4th December 2021.

READ: Build the statue: 11 moments that make Divock Origi a Liverpool hero

Alberto Moreno

Signed from Sevilla in a £12million deal, Moreno was regarded as one of the most promising left-backs in Spain and opened his account for Liverpool with a stunning solo effort against Tottenham. 

While his attacking qualities were evident, he struggled defensively and made a series of high profile errors during his five years at the club. 

The 30-year-old eventually fell behind Andy Robertson in the pecking order and joined Villarreal at the expiration of his Liverpool contract in 2019. He since featured for the Yellow Submarine as they got one over Liverpool’s arch-rivals Manchester United in the 2021 Europa League final.

Mario Balotelli

Having missed out on Alexis Sanchez, Liverpool took a gamble and decided to sign Balotelli from AC Milan in a £16miliion deal.

Given he scored four goals in 28 appearances in all competitions before joining Nice on a free transfer, it’s safe to say it wasn’t a risk worth taking. 

“What we wanted and what we needed was a player who could really press at the top end of the field,” Rodgers said in 2016. “It wasn’t just a goalscorer we were after.

“I felt Mario was someone who wouldn’t work for us. But come the end of the summer, we were struggling to get someone who could do the role we wanted. I think the ownership group thought that this could be a player I could develop.

“They were thinking that maybe he is a £50million player that we can get for £16million. So, when the owners are wanting you to go down that route and there is no other options, then of course you give it a go.”

After three years in France, he returned to Italy with hometown club Brescia, spent a brief stint in Serie B playing alongside Kevin-Prince Boateng for Silvio Berlusconi’s club Monza, and is now turning out for Swiss Super Club side Sion.

Javier Manquillo

Manquillo joined Liverpool on a two-year loan deal from Atletico Madrid but the move was terminated in 2015 after he made just 10 Premier League appearances.

He was subsequently shipped out to Marseille and Sunderland before signing on a permanent deal with Newcastle United in 2017.

Now into his sixth season with the Magpies, the right-back is out of favour with manager Eddie Howe and would surely be better served seeking first-team football elsewhere.


READ MORE: Celebrating peak 13-14 Liverpool when Luis Suarez scored an 18-yard header