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'Liverpool should keep Luis Suarez'

Rio Ferdinand has told Brendan Rodgers that Liverpool need to keep Luis Suarez, even though the striker will miss the start of the season as he serves a four-month ban from all football.

Suarez was banned by FIFA after world football's governing body found the Uruguay forward guilty of biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in a World Cup Group G match.

Uruguay have launched an appeal against the decision, which includes their next nine international matches as well as precluding Suarez from "all football-related activity" until two months into the next club season. It is his third biting-related suspension in the past four years.

But former Manchester United defender Ferdinand believes that English football's reigning double Player of the Year -- a reported target for Barcelona -- is indispensable at Anfield.

"If I were the Liverpool manager, there wouldn't be a moment's doubt about what to do next with Luis Suarez," Ferdinand wrote in The Mail on Sunday. "I'd keep him.

"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. They had a brilliant 2013-14, pushing for the title when many people thought they might struggle to get into the top four. Although they didn't win it they were superb, with Suarez the single most significant reason for that.

"The Premier League will be at least as tough next season, and probably much tougher with Louis van Gaal at a new-look Manchester United. Liverpool will have Champions League football, too, so any manager at Anfield would want Suarez in the team.

"So that's the football decision. It's an easy one to make."

Suarez has been linked with a move to Catalonia -- where his wife's family lives -- and Ferdinand admits it does make financial sense for Liverpool to cash in on him in case he reoffends and gets an even longer suspension.

"If I were the chief executive or the money man at Liverpool, I'd have him up for sale already," he added. "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 70 million pounds 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."

Ferdinand, 35, is available on a free transfer after leaving United and has been tipped to join newly-promoted QPR, but said he was keeping his options open.

"I'll be playing on next season at a new club, but I remain uncertain where that will be," he wrote. "I would have liked it wrapped up last week, but these things are never as simple as they seem.

"New opportunities have presented themselves, and it's only right that I give everything proper consideration. I'm still speaking to a number of clubs in England and other countries. I'm sure it will be resolved soon."

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sports espn fifa world cup liverpool luis su rez uruguay
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