Liverpool owner John W Henry insists the decision to sell Luis Suarez was the right one -- and that the club will cope without him this season.
Uruguay international Suarez completed a 75 million pounds move to Barcelona last week, less than a month after being involved in the third biting controversy of his career.
The 27-year-old was banned from all football activity by FIFA for four months after biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match in the Brazilian city of Natal on June 24. Suarez has the option to go to the Court for Arbitration in Sport to challenge the ban, though, and reports in Spain suggest that a date has been set for an appeal hearing.
The striker sparked a similar controversy in April 2013, when he was banned for 10 domestic matches for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a Premier League match at Anfield. Suarez gave several interviews that summer stating that he wanted to leave Liverpool, but Henry responded in August 2013 by insisting: "We are not going to sell Luis."
LUIS SUAREZ BITE STORM
- FIFA bans Luis Suarez for four months
- PL chief: Suarez an accident waiting to happen
- No 'bite clause' in Suarez's Barca contract
- Toe Poke: Fan gets dodgy Suarez tattoo
- Thompson: Portrait of a serial winner
- Brewin: No sympathy for Luis Suarez
- Thompson: Uruguay comes to Suarez defence
- Marcotti: Suarez in another bite storm
Asked why the striker had been allowed to leave this summer, Henry told NBC: "I felt we needed more depth [in the squad]. Last year, we needed more depth, and we're playing a lot more games this year.
"It was time for Luis and time for the club to make a break. He brought so much to the team, but I think that we brought a lot to Luis. I think you'll still see a very explosive offence [attack]."
Liverpool, who were not involved in European competition, played only 43 competitive matches last season as they finished second in the Premier League. This season, having qualified for the Champions League group stages, they will play a minimum of 45 matches even if they go out of every cup competition at the first possible hurdle. With any significant run in the Champions League, FA Cup or Capital One Cup, the Reds could well end up playing between 50 and 60 competitive games.
Henry said: "This year, we're not just focusing on the Premier League, but it's the first time we've been in the Champions League for a while, so that's a huge focus for us. We've brought in a lot more depth, we hope to be able to compete in both arenas."
Manager Brendan Rodgers, who has brought in Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Lazar Markovic so far this summer, is expected to confirm the signing of striker Loic Remy from QPR on Friday.