With Luis Suarez moving on to pastures new, the pressure was really on Liverpool to find a replacement who could at least try and fill his boots. In Loic Remy they haven’t quite found one, but what they have captured is a twenty-seven year old for a decent sum of money who knows where the back of the net is. There are far better strikers not only in Europe but even in the Premier League, but Remy is actually just the tonic Liverpool were looking for after losing Suarez for a number of reasons that suggest it’s not all doom and gloom around Anfield.
The most important place to start is the fourteen goals Remy scored in twenty-six games league while on loan at Newcastle last season. Clearly this guy is now used to the fast paced style of English football, his goals tally proves that. So with Remy coming in, he will take next to no time to settle. Foreign strikers who come to England, like Oliver Giroud for example, usually take some time to find their feet. Remy has already done this, which makes buying a goalscorer who has already done it in England a smart move by Liverpool. You can be sure he’ll grab a goal early on for the club, and from there he should settle nicely into his new club.
Secondly, the price tag is not an issue. The £8.5 million is not significant enough to hang over his head should he fail to find the target in his first few games at the club. We’ve seen players like Fernando Torres switch clubs in England, and the struggle mightily. Similarly, don’t be surprised if Diego Costa also starts slowly for Chelsea. He’s moving from Spain for a big fee, and it’ll take time for him to get going. Remy won’t have this problem. Yes it’s a lot of money, only in footballing currency it is not. When you consider the likes or Arsenal were also rumoured to be interested in him, it is not all that much at all. These are the intangibles that should allow Remy to get down to what he’s good at doing, and that is scoring goals.
At Newcastle, and Queens Park Rangers before that, Remy had decent service and still managed to score a lot of goals. His movement is difficult for defenders to deal with, he rarely sits still and makes clever runs that create space for teammates. If he was able to do these things well before, think how effective he can be on Merseyside. With Philippe Coutinho, Steven Gerard and Adam Lallana feeding him the ball, he is sure to have even more chances to score goals. They are clever and astute passers of the ball playing behind him, and he should benefit big time from that. Similarly his hard work up front will work well with the bursts forward the likes of Coutinho make.
Of course Remy won’t be alone up front, and this is where it gets interesting. You can’t replace a guy like Suarez overnight, and both he and Daniel Sturridge had a great understanding of one another’s game. But Remy and Sturridge can be effective in different ways. Suarez was known for dropping deep to collect the ball and beat some defenders, and while Remy is capable of that too, it is more likely he and Sturridge stick up front more often. If the two of them constantly swap sides and move across the front line, it will take at least two defenders to follow the both of them. Their pace will see them past a lot of guys, and again this movement will create space for attacking midfielders.
We’ve spoken about the movement, but both Remy and Sturridge are technically gifted as well. Again neither is Luis Suarez, but there is a lot to like when both are on the ball. You would think Remy would play the hit man when both are on the pitch though. Even better for Liverpool, Remy could certainly co-exist with Rickie Lambert if both end up on the pitch together. Lambert is a more technically sound and better finisher version of Andy Carroll, and Remy can play off a guy like that really well. They may not share the pitch often, but if the team is in need of a goal, having too poachers like that on the pitch can only be a good thing.
Loic Remy is coming into a nice situation here. He’s not expected to replace Luis Suarez, so that pressure doesn’t exist. He knows the league well and has thrived playing for lesser teams, so all signs point towards this guy being a success for Liverpool. He’s not quite the big name or the star player the fans might have wanted, but in the end, he may turn out to be just what they needed going forward.