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Well, that was...not good. The Europa League is/was probably Liverpool's best chance to actually achieve something this season, with the Champions League already 12 points away and looking increasingly distant, but after losing their first leg against Zenit St Petersburg they will have to produce something really quite special to go any further.
In a display that featured some shambolic defending (for Zenit's second in particular), a failure to track Zenit's dangerous midfield runners throughout and some troublingly wayward passing, it was Luis Suarez's performance that stood out as particularly poor.
If you watched the game you don't need statistics to tell you that Suarez was frankly rubbish, but if one is required then it's his five efforts on goal (the most of any player on the pitch) with only one on target. And that was a weak free-kick that Vyacheslav Malafeev made something of a meal of. He could quite easily have put Liverpool three up and as good as through by half-time.
One should not necessarily criticise Suarez for this too harshly. Even the best players - and Suarez is among the best - have off days, and when they do it's more noticeable because of their usual excellence. It was just unfortunate that Suarez's bad showing happened to be in a pretty crucial game.
What this game gave us is a glimpse of Liverpool without Suarez. They were an impotent shadow of the side with Suarez at his best. When the rest of the team underperforms, it is often Suarez who drags them through. Not against Zenit, though. It would be too strong to say they would've been better with ten men, but would it have made any difference if another, inferior player was in the team in place of the Uruguayan? Say, Fabio Borini?
Liverpool are not a one-man team. Daniel Sturridge is showing signs of playing to the potential that many have thought him capable of. Raheem Sterling is 5 ft 7 of unfiltered potential. Steven Gerrard is still Steven Gerrard most of the time. Glen Johnson (slumber against Zenit aside) is having one of the most consistent seasons of his career.
However, Suarez is something else. He's a player you build a team around, and if Liverpool are to get even close to what they used to be - as anyone associated with the club seems contractually obliged to promise they will do at some stage - then he should be at the very centre.
And yet there is talk of him leaving, perhaps as soon as the summer, with Pep Guardiola rumoured to covet him for his new Bayern Munich side. Indeed, there can barely be a team around who would not want Suarez, and would sell their mothers (if their mothers were worth around £50million) if it meant getting him.
Paul Little argued very sensibly on these pages that, should Liverpool receive a beefy enough offer for Suarez, they should accept and use the money to fix the other problems in their squad. It's a theory that has a lot of merit, but it would be an enormously brave decision to have a player like Suarez and voluntarily let him go.
Indeed, cashing in on Suarez would be a gamble in a couple of respects, because not only would life without their attacking focal point be a risk, there is of course no guarantee that the money would actually fix the problems Paul identified. As we know, their recent record in the transfer market has been 'mixed' to say the least, and a club of Liverpool's means cannot afford too many expensive mistakes. They cashed in on Fernando Torres (who was admittedly already on the downturn when he was sold), and we all know how that money was spent. Even if they do sell him to fund other purchases, Suarez will have to be replaced, something that would be virtually impossible to do even adequately with the funds they have.
In American sport, they talk of 'franchise players' - those players who are the face of the team, that they build not just the team but the whole club around. Gerrard is arguably still that for Liverpool, but Suarez is just behind him, and with the captain approaching his 33rd birthday, will he be good enough for much longer?
By playing so badly against Zenit, Suarez showed Liverpool what life would be like without him, and it didn't look good. They should cling onto him for as long as they possibly can.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter
I predict a slump coming for Luis. I think Rodgers is going to ultimately pay for displacing Suarez to make room for Sturridge. I don't care what anyone says, Luis Suarez is a striker. He's a non-traditional striker, but he's still a striker. I look at Suarez as somewhere between Benzema and Messi. Like Benzema, Suarez loves to roam for the ball. At times you can be frustrated by the fact he won't lead the line and he's 25 yards from goal instead of working 10 yards from goal. At the same time, their ability blend winger, striker, and #10 causes defenses so many issues. They drag defenders all over the pitch. Defenders don't know whether to follow them or let them roam. It creates pockets of space all over the pitch. The comparison between Messi and Suarez are fairly obvious. Both love to take their man on and drift to find the ball. Sadly, Luis isn't blessed with the pace Messi is, so he'll never be able to touch the impact of Messi, but both are excellent at being very useful with the ball. The biggest similarity I see between the two players is their ability to make a system work by being contrarian. Both players are given freedom to play based on their gut in systems which are designed to be very restrained. Barcelona could pass the ball around all game and still win a lot of games but they wouldn't be the dominate force they are without him. Messi makes Barcelona work because he doesn't just pass the ball around. Through his dribbling he creates incredible defensive movement. This is what Suarez should be offering LFC if LFC had any offensive threats paired with him.- rossmosh