GUS POYET fears his fellow Uruguayan Luis Suarez will be forced to quit English football in the aftermath of the race row that has dogged the Liverpool star's career.
Suarez, who faces Everton in tonight's Merseyside derby at Anfield, has become a target of terrace hatred since being found guilty of using racially offensive language towards Patrice Evra, giving rise to an eight-game ban and £40,000 fine, and his close friend Poyet fears for his future in England.
"He was worried about everything that happened, it was a shock," said Poyet, currently in charge of Championship side Brighton.
"I just hope that we can keep him in England. I would like him to stay for English football. Otherwise, you lose so much. He wanted just to play and it was difficult to understand the language. I am sure he will show his quality because everybody knows he is a good player."
Poyet added that, although the striker had said nothing explicitly to him about leaving Merseyside, he wondered whether the situation could be retrieved. His comments follow suggestions that Paris St-Germain were preparing a summer bid and Suarez appearing to welcome such interest on French television.
Liverpool have not expressed any concern about the interview and rejected the idea it represented a hint to Qatari-owned PSG.
Suarez was invited to talk about his international team-mate Diego Lugano. In the interview, Suarez expressed his contentment with life at Anfield and reiterated his commitment to his contract. It is understood he has made it clear leaving Liverpool for the French league would be a step down, despite the wealth on offer.
Only a massive bid from Real Madrid or Barcelona would concern the Liverpool hierarchy.
Poyet said: "If you leave Liverpool you have to be leaving for something bigger. I don't think you leave Liverpool for anything smaller and Liverpool is a top, top club. So you're talking about the top few clubs."