Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann feels the club will be better off in the long term without Luis Suarez, a player he believes “can’t be trusted”.
Suarez was the Reds’ star man last season, notching 31 Barclays Premier League goals to help them finish second in the table.
The Uruguay forward was subsequently hit with a four-month ban from all football-related activities for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup – he will learn the outcome of his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday – and Liverpool sold him to Barcelona for £75m.
The Merseysiders have splashed their cash considerably, bringing a raft of new players in such as Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren from Southampton, Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen and Lazar Markovic from Benfica, and Hamann thinks good business has been done.
The ex-Germany international is optimistic about Liverpool’s prospects for the new campaign and confident they will not suffer too greatly for the departure of Suarez, whose three and a half years with the Anfield outfit were disrupted by lengthy suspensions for another biting incident and a racial abuse case.
Hamann, speaking at a McDonald’s and Football Association Community Football Day, said: “I think Liverpool have bought well.”
“I have always been very critical of Suarez’s antics.”
“I’d rather have the six or seven players they have now than Suarez, because at the end of the day, if you want to win things, you need people you can trust, and he can’t be trusted.”
“If he does something stupid again, he could be out for years, or for good.”
“Yes, he has been great, there is no doubt about it. But what could have been if he had not missed all the games he did when he was here? Maybe the team would have been in the Champions League a while ago.”
“All he has to show from his time at Liverpool is a League Cup winner’s medal (from 2011/12). He is not leaving a team that was ruling the Premier League or Europe during that the last few years.”
“He is a player who scored goals, but at the end of the day they only got into the Champions League with him last season.”
Liverpool exceeded expectation with their finish last term as they comfortably secured their long-awaited return to Champions League football and almost the Premier League title to boot.
Hamann – who played for the Reds between 1999 and 2006, and was part of their famous 2005 European Cup triumph – believes they can build on those efforts this season, but is not expecting them to go one place better in the top-flight just yet.
“I don’t think last year was a flash in the pan,” the 40-year-old said.
“Mentally, it could leave a scar or two because they missed a huge chance. But I think they can build on it.”
“Playing in Europe and then in the league is tough, so that will be a big test they will have to pass.”
“I don’t think they are title contenders this season – I would take another top-four finish now and qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.”
“That would be a good season. But it’s very hard to predict!”