James Rodriguez
James Rodriguez Getty Images

Former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey believes Brendan Rodgers should sign Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez to replace Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan international agreed terms to join Barcelona after leaving the Merseyside club. Suarez was the Premier League's top scorer with 31 goals from 33 league games and was the Reds' star player last season.

Liverpool were helpless in keeping the former Ajax man at the club, which saw the striker sign for the Spanish giants. Rodgers wanted Alexis Sanchez as part of Suarez swap deal. However, the Chilean snubbed the Anifled outfit for Arsenal.

Heskey, who was with the Merseyside club from 2000 to 2004, wants his former club to sign Rodriguez in the summer transfer window.

"Both Alexis Sanchez and James Rodriguez have lit up the World Cup. The latter is only 23, so you would get a lot of mileage out of him. James would be my number one [target] if Liverpool could get him," Heskey told a Sony web chat.

Manchester United are rumoured to be interested in signing Rodriguez. However, the AS Monaco attacker has set his sights on joining Real Madrid, despite interest from Barcelona. The 23-year-old World Cup star has admiration for the Spanish clubs.

Meanwhile, Heskey says Liverpool were forced to sell Suarez this summer. The South American striker now faces four-month ban from football after biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.

The Reds allowed Suarez join Barcelona for a fee thought to be around £75m. Heskey believes Rodgers' side did the right business in letting Suarez leave because of the striker's behavioural issues over the years.

"Liverpool were forced to sell him. You can't keep backing someone who misbehaves like this. It gets to a point where you have to wash your hands of the player. The money they are receiving is good from Barcelona," the former England international concluded.