Liverpool will survive the departure of Luis Suarez, says Brendan Rodgers
Reds manager has faith in revival of team with the arrival of fresh talent like Adam Lallana
Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool will be even stronger next season despite the departure of star striker and World Cup villain Luis Suarez.
Suarez agreed on a £75 million (HK$995 million) move to Barcelona on Friday and the Uruguayan will soon travel to Spain for a medical before officially completing the transfer.
The 27-year-old scored 82 goals in 133 appearances for Liverpool and his remarkable tally of 31 in 33 league matches last season helped the Reds qualify for the Champions League and come close to winning the English title for the first time in 24 years.
But his stay at Anfield was marred by a series of controversial incidents, which included suspensions for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra and biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.
Suarez was in trouble again during the World Cup, when he bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, earning a nine-match international suspension and a four-month ban from all football.
That latest indiscretion prompted Liverpool's owner John Henry to cash in on Suarez, but the fee will be reinvested in strengthening the squad and Rodgers expects to reap the rewards.
"I am confident we will improve the team further and will be stronger for this coming season, when we will be competing on all fronts; domestically and in the greatest club competition in the world, the Champions League," Rodgers said.
"We are focused on the future, as we strive to continue with the progress we have made and build on last season's excellent Premier League campaign."
It is not the first time Liverpool have sparked fears about their future by selling a star forward.
In 1977, Kevin Keegan quit for Hamburg, but was replaced with tremendous success by Kenny Dalglish, while Ian Rush's move to Juventus in 1987 was offset by swoops for Peter Beardsley, John Aldridge and John Barnes.
In both cases, Liverpool went on to win silverware the season after the big-name exits, and Rodgers hopes his rebuilding programme, which has included the signings of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Emre Can, will yield similar rewards.
"If there is one thing the history of this great club teaches us, it is that Liverpool FC is bigger than any individual," Rodgers said.
Meanwhile, German sportswear maker Adidas said on Sunday that it would resume using Suarez despite his four-month ban for biting a World Cup rival.
"We will talk with him and his management about what we expect of him on and off the pitch," Adidas said.