Five possible replacements for Luis Suarez

With Luis Suarez likely to join Barcelona in the coming days, Sports Mole selects five players that could replace the Uruguayan at Liverpool.

After widespread reports emerged that positive talks had been held between Liverpool and Barcelona regarding the sale of Luis Suarez, it appears to be only a matter of time before one of the most controversial players to grace British shores will depart for Spain.

Despite Suarez being banned from all football activities until the end of October, Liverpool are allegedly holding out for a fee in the region of £75m, but if the Merseyside club are successful with their strong stance, they will have a significant war-chest to find a replacement for the Uruguayan.

Below, Sports Mole selects five players that could fill the void left by the outgoing striker.


Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against Sevilla on February 9, 2014© AFP
1. Alexis Sanchez

With Barcelona openly admitting that they have received offers from a number of clubs for the services of Alexis Sanchez, it was inevitable that the Chilean attacker would be talked about as part of any deal involving Suarez moving to Camp Nou.

Not only would Barcelona get market value for Sanchez, it would save them the hassle of having to keep four world-class attackers happy throughout the campaign and it would seem to be the logical move for all involved if the 25-year-old made the move to Anfield.

However, the major stumbling block appears to be the striker's preference for a move to London with Arsenal, but with the guarantee of a first-team place and the soon-to-be vacant number seven shirt, Sanchez could be persuaded to move to Merseyside.

Despite not being classed as a direct replacement for Suarez, it would be difficult for Liverpool to turn down the opportunity to secure the services of a player who has seen his stock rise considerably higher after an impressive World Cup campaign with his country.


Milan striker Mario Balotelli in action against Inter on February 24, 2013© Getty Images
2. Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli endured an indifferent spell during his time at Manchester City, but the Italian international has rediscovered his best form during his 18-month spell with AC Milan.

That has seen the controversial frontman linked with a return to the Premier League, with reports indicating that Arsenal had an interest in signing him earlier this summer.

However, recent speculation has stated that Brendan Rodgers would be keen to sign Balotelli should he become available, and his flexibility and movement in the final third could prove to be an asset to Liverpool's free-flowing side.

There may be a small concern regarding Balotelli's temperament, but after managing to channel Suarez's attitude into a number of quality performances, Rodgers is unlikely to be put off by the baggage that would come with signing the 23-year-old


Lille's Divock Origi celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Sochaux during their Ligue 1 match on February 8, 2014© AFP
3. Divock Origi

The name of Divock Origi wasn't one that was widely known in European football before the start of the World Cup finals, but his emergence in Brazil has seen him catch the eye of a number of top European clubs.

After outshining Belgium teammate Romelu Lukaku during the group stages, Liverpool were linked with a bid for the 19-year-old but it was believed that the Reds would allow the youngster to remain with Lille for another 12 months.

However, after Origi gave another indication of his exceptional talent against USA on Tuesday night, Rodgers could be tempted to place a huge amount of faith in the former Genk trainee as he prepares to battle on four fronts next season.

The arrival of Origi would likely see Daniel Sturridge deployed on the left-hand side, but if the Belgian could show that he is flexible in attacking areas, he could build on his success at the World Cup and become a regular with the Reds.


Real's Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Getafe during their La Liga match on February 16, 2014© Getty Images
4. Karim Benzema

Before it became known that Suarez was favouring a move to Camp Nou, it had been reported that Real Madrid held a considerable interest in the 27-year-old as they looked to build on last season's Champions League win.

The Bernabeu outfit haven't been mentioned recently regarding a bid for Suarez, but it would arguably make more sense for Liverpool to sell to Carlo Ancelotti's side if they could gain the signature of Karim Benzema in his place.

Any Madrid move for Suarez would see Benzema restricted to appearances from the substitutes' bench, but if the 26-year-old were brought in by Liverpool, he would act as a like-for-like replacement.

The France international averaged one goal every two games in La Liga and the Champions League last season, and if Liverpool could sign Benzema with the added bonus of £30m on top, that would represent excellent business.


Benfica's Serb forward Lazar Markovic celebrates after his team scored the equalizer during the Portuguese league football match Sporting CP vs SL Benfica at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on August 31, 2013© Getty Images
5. Lazar Markovic

Serbian Lazar Markovic was linked with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United last summer before signing with Benfica, and the versatile attacker's reputation has only improved during his first 12 months in Portugal.

Despite netting just seven goals in 49 appearances, Markovic helped Benfica to a historic treble as well as assisting his team in their run to the final of the Europa League.

Like Origi, Markovic is very much a developing talent, but his speed, skill and composure on the ball would only strengthen Liverpool's attack and his goal return would improve significantly with regular football in England.

The 20-year-old would be seen as one for the future, but if Liverpool could tempt Benfica to sell one of their prized assets, that would still leave as much as £50m in the coffers to add another star name to the first-team squad.


Chile forward Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring the equaliser against Brazil in their World Cup last-16 match in Belo Horizonte on June 28, 2014
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