Since we sold Suarez in the summer, we have struggled. Suarez himself tells us it is because he was carrying us, I doubt this is true, a great player yes but not a one man team. The problem with great players is that when they leave you miss them, it's not easy to replace them, Suarez was in most people's opinions, in the top three in the world, so to replace him with a player of equal stature we needed to sign either Ronaldo or Messi, not going to happen, currently we can't get anybody close to the worlds top twenty we just aren't a big enough club and we don't have the money to be able to pay this type of player even if they were available.
So we can't we replace Suarez, or can we? In Raheem Sterling do we have a ready made replacement sitting in our squad, a mini Suarez. Liverpool have been playing a lone striker in Balotelli a man who is crying out for a partner and not using our most successful formation, the diamond, I believe because Rodgers, does not trust our other strikers, but is the solution right in front of his face in Raheem Sterling.
Suarez seems to me to have many of the same abilities as Suarez and a similar style, good with the ball at his feet, unpredictable, can create and score, strong with low centre of ability, good pace. It seems to me that they are very similar, yes i would agree that Suarez is more complete and probably the better finisher but that is because Sterling is young, still learning, still inexperienced by comparison. Will Sterling learn and develop, undoubtably. If you think back Suarez could see it, he appeared to take Sterling under his wing whilst he was at Liverpool.
Can Sterling play up front as a striker, I'm sure he can, maybe not as a loan striker but certainly as part of a two, similar to Suarez last season buzzing all over the pitch frightening defenders and giving space to his partner. Is he as good as Suarez? No, not yet, but he has a chance of developing in to a player as good or better than Suarez, he's extremely talented for his age, many suggesting he's the best teenager in Europe, so yes he has a chance of going beyond the level Suarez has reached, think back Suarez struggled to hit the net as consistently as he does now during his first season and a half at Liverpool.
Comparing the two we lose out on experience and possibly consistency in front of goal but we gain on pace Sterling is quicker, attitude Suarez was always on the edge of blowing up and biting again or worse, Sterling appears to have far more self control and age Sterling is younger he has it all in front of him hopefully at Liverpool.
Playing Sterling as a striker would also bring other benefits. Firstly, I think he would help in closing down, pressing this is a natural part of his game and he has the pace to worry every defender when they have the ball. Secondly, it allows Rodgers to play somebody else in the number ten role, this is another reason why we are not using the diamond in that we have so many attacking midfielders and I think Rodgers feels obliged to play them 4-2-3-1 allows him to do this. Moving Sterling to play as a striker would allow the summers big signing Lallana to play regularly in his own preferred position of No 10.
In short I think it's time to see if Sterling can prove himself to be a striker and if he can reach the very top replacing Suarez in the process.