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UEFA Champions League: How Liverpool have moved on from Luis Suarez and Coutinho

2:41 AM WAT 01/05/2019
Luis Suarez Barcelona
Both players face their former side in the semi-final tie after leaving Merseyside for Barcelona...

Liverpool look to reach the final of the UEFA Champions League for a second successive year. But the English side have Barcelona to negotiate in the semi-finals, where they come up against two of their former stars.

Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho cost Barcelona a combined £217 million. While Suarez arrived in 2014, Coutinho made the move in the 2017-18 winter window. The pair are set to face the club where they made their name before joining the Blaugrana.

But despite losing two of their star names, Liverpool have moved on and have fostered new stars. The Reds have invested impeccably well in the transfer market and have brought in value-for-money players that have exceeded expectations more often than not.

Suarez arrived from Ajax and almost single-handedly took Liverpool very near to their first ever Premier League trophy in 2013-14. The Uruguayan scored 31 goals out of his team's 110 strikes as Liverpool came agonisingly close to breaking their Premier League title drought.

Though Suarez left soon after for Barcelona, it didn't hurt Liverpool as many thought it would.

Meanwhile, Coutinho had already arrived from Inter Milan and his Brazilian flair was out for all to see as he racked up 54 goals and 44 assists during his spell at Merseyside. He also made a big money move to Camp Nou.

The transition from the two big departures could not have been smoother. In 2017-18, although Liverpool finished fourth on the league table, Jurgen Klopp's side reached the Champions League final, only to be beaten by Real Madrid.

Spearheading the attack was the troika of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah, brought in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively. The three frontmen cost Liverpool a little over £100 million and they lit up the Kop with a combined tally of 91 goals - two-thirds of the team's total in 2017-18.

This season, Liverpool look even more rounded as the Coutinho money has been put to good use. The arrivals of defender Virgil Van Dijk (£75 million), goalkeeper Alisson Becker (£66.8 million) and midfielder Naby Keita (£48 million) add quality in every department. Liverpool are locked in a two-horse race with Manchester City in the Premier League and are in for a chance to make a European final again

Luis Suarez is now already in the top five Barcelona goal scorers of all time whereas, Coutinho is still making a mark playing alongside Lionel Messi & Co. But, Liverpool have ushered in a new era without them as the Reds are now much more than a one-man army.

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