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The 35-year-old feels it would be a risk for Liverpool to keep the striker at Anfield but, if he was manager, he admitted he would still want him to remain at the club

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes Liverpool should target Alexis Sanchez as part of any potential deal with Barcelona, should Luis Suarez exit the club this summer.

The Uruguay striker has been the focus of much media attention following his four-month global ban and nine-game suspension from competitive international fixtures after biting Giorgio Chiellini.

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And after conceding it would be a 'risk' for him to stay at Liverpool, Ferdinand feels the club could look for Arsenal-target Alexis Sanchez as part of a player-plus-cash deal should Barcelona make an offer.

"If I were the chief executive or the money man at Liverpool, I’d have him up for sale already," admitted the former England captain in his column for the Mail Online.

"The issue is one of risk and what might happen in the future given a pattern of behaviour. Keeping Suarez may potentially cost Liverpool tens of millions of pounds. Perhaps £70million or more.

"How so? If he went somewhere else this summer — Spain, I guess, with Barcelona and Real Madrid showing recent interest and having the money — Liverpool cash in on their biggest asset.

"Yes, it will be a tough ask to replace such quality, but if all the proceeds and more were re-invested in a proven striker, it might make sense.

"If Liverpool don’t sell him and he bites someone else after his ban ends, he could be thrown out for years. The solution to the Suarez situation could be that if Barca do want him, I’d demand Alexis Sanchez in a swap deal.

However, the former England international acknowledges Suarez is ‘indispensable’ to Liverpool, adding that – if he was manager – he would still want to keep him at the club ahead of the coming season.

"If I were the Liverpool manager there wouldn’t be a moment’s doubt about what to do next with Luis Suarez. I’d keep him," he continued.

"Leave aside, just for a moment, questions of morality or whether his ban is long enough and what is going on is his head to make him do these extraordinarily bad things.

"Purely and simply from a football perspective, what he does for you on the pitch — and I don’t mean biting people - makes him indispensable.

"And with the season Liverpool have ahead of them, that’s truer than ever. So that’s the football decision. It’s an easy one to make."

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