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 By Mike Whalley

Reds 'goal threat remains' sans Suarez

LIVERPOOL -- Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has the professionalism to be at his best straight away when he returns from his four-month ban, according to Brendan Rodgers.

But the Liverpool boss insists his team have the goal threat to cope without the Uruguay international following his Anfield exit.

Suarez left Liverpool for Barcelona in a 75 million pounds deal on July 16, but will not be able to make his competitive debut until late October.


1) £85m Gareth Bale -- Tottenham to Real Madrid, Sept. 2013

2) £80m Cristiano Ronaldo -- Man Utd to R. Madrid, June 2009

3) £75m Luis Suarez -- Liverpool to Barcelona, July 2014

4) £71m James Rodriguez -- Monaco to Real Madrid, July 2014

5) £59.7m Angel Di Maria -- Real Madrid to Man Utd, Aug. 2014

6) £56m Kaka -- AC Milan to Real Madrid, June 2009

The Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) upheld FIFA's decision to give the Uruguay international a four-month suspension for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match on June 24.

But he is now allowed to train with his teammates and play in friendlies after CAS amended the terms of the ban.

Suarez spent three-and-a-half years with Liverpool, two of them playing for Rodgers, who took charge at Anfield in June 2012.

And the Liverpool boss said: "Now the appeal process is complete, he knows where he's at. He can now train with the team, which is important for him.

"I'm sure they'll put games aside for him to allow him to build up his fitness. He'll hope it comes around quickly. I saw the first competitive game he'll be available for is against Real Madrid. I'm sure he'll look forward to that.

"He'll just continue to work. He's a great professional. He'll have his focus on getting fit and back playing again."


31 - Premier League goals, winning the Golden Boot.
12 - Most assists in the Premier League.
24 - Scored the most goals from inside the box.
 4 - Scored the most goals from counterattacks.
•  9 - Had the most shots that hit the woodwork.
•  3 - Most penalties won in the Premier League.
• 237 - Attempted more dribbles than any other player.

Suarez scored 31 of Liverpool's 101 league goals last season as they finished second in the Premier League, and won all three of English domestic football's major Player of the Year awards.

Rodgers, though, insists the goal threat remains even without the 27-year-old, pointing to the manner in which his side beat Borussia Dortmund 4-0 in a friendly last Sunday. He said: "Luis was a world-class talent, but we scored 101 goals last year, and 70 of those came from other parts of the team.

"Of course, every big team will lose a top player at some point. But for us, there's nobody bigger than the club.

"If the fear factor is taken out of us, then that will be seen over the course of the season. For us, there's no change. We saw it against Dortmund that we've got goals in the team, and that the intensity is the same.

"And we had evidence of that last year as well. In the two years I've been here, when Luis hasn't played, we've won most of our games.

"We had nearly a 70 percent win rate in the Premier League last year, which is a fantastic achievement, and we aim to continue with that."

Rodgers has brought in one striker this summer, with England international Rickie Lambert joining from Southampton in June for four million pounds.

And he is looking for another, with the club weighing up a move in recent days for Cameroon forward Samuel Eto'o, a free agent after being released by Chelsea at the end of last season.

Brendan Rodgers is confident Liverpool won't miss Luis Suarez.

Rodgers said: "It was always the case that we needed to improve the squad. We haven't brought in another striker other than Rickie Lambert. We aim to do that, and the money's there. It's not as if there'll be any panic buy.

"We needed to improve the squad in various areas, and that's what we've done. That would have happened whether Luis was here or not.

"With Luis going, we wanted to improve that top end of the field. That's something we'll look to do right to the very end. If we don't, it means the right player hasn't become available for us.

"If that's the case, we'll continue on with the group that we have and I'll be happy to go into the season with what we have. I'm really pleased with the players we've brought in. That's going to allow us to cope with injuries and with competitions.

"If we can add maybe one or two more in the areas that we want to, then we'll have had a great window. And it will set us up, not only for this window. We didn't bring in anyone in January, so we needed to do that this summer.

"This summer will probably be our biggest window for the next couple of years. We hope to get one or two more in."


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