Liverpool fans will have been dancing on the streets of Merseyside on Friday, as star striker Luis Suarez put pen to paper on a new long-term contract with the Anfield club.
The Uruguay has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the past, but this season he can do no wrong, with 17 goals in 11 Premier League games.
Despite the controversies that the ex-Ajax attacker gets embroiled in from time to time, on current form it is fair to judge Suarez as one of the best strikers in the world game.
For Liverpool, to convince him to extend his stay at the club is a massive coup, with some of Europe’s top teams ready to break the bank to land the South American at the earliest opportunity.
However, with Suarez in the red of Liverpool for the foreseeable future, the club’s rise up the Premier League table looks set to continue.
Although Brendan Rodgers’ men have been touted as potential title challengers, a place in the top four this term would be an excellent achievement. Players’ aspirations begin and end with Champions League football, while the revenue and prestige it brings cannot be replicated.
If the Reds can make the top four, with Suarez as their talisman, other top players will be convinced to join the Merseyside club.
With summer strengthening, the Anfield outfit could well be ready to make a bid for the Premier League title next season for the first time in recent memory.
When Xabi Alonso left Liverpool in 2009, the club started to crumble and is only now starting to recover – which shows exactly just how important just one man can be to a side’s chances of success. The Real Madrid passmaster is one of the best in his position in the game, and Liverpool could not replace him.
The same goes with Suarez. If the Reds were forced to sell the Uruguay international, finding a player of similar ability would be next to impossible.
Tottenham are paying the price for back-to-back seasons without qualification for Europe’s biggest tournament, with firstly Luka Modric and then Gareth Bale leaving as a result. With these players not replaced, Spurs have struggled to make the significant leap from fifth to fourth or better.
For Liverpool, keeping Suarez at the club could well be the first in a positive chain of events for the Anfield outfit. If this is followed by qualification for the Champions League, it will move to fortify the South American’s mindset that his long-term future can be at Anfield and can be successful.
Only positive things can come out of Champions League participation, and as such a man found guilty of racism and biting an opponent signing a £200,000 a week contract could well be the spark that brings Liverpool back into the reckoning as one of England’s biggest clubs once more.