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Reds bid to tie down Suarez

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LIVERPOOL defender Mamadou Sakho has hailed striker Luis Suarez's wholehearted contribution to the team – and the Uruguayan is expected to be asked to make a long-term commitment.

Suarez is the Premier League's top scorer with 17 goals in 11 matches and won the Football Supporters' Federation's player of the year award on Monday.

Despite trying to manoeuvre a move in the summer because of the lack of Champions League football, Suarez's form since returning from a 10-match suspension is such that managing director Ian Ayre has reportedly opened new contract talks with the player's agent in Barcelona.

The 26-year-old has two and a half years remaining on his current deal but such is his importance, Liverpool are understandably keen to tie him down.

And while the final decision is likely to be Suarez's and based on whether the second-placed Reds can secure a return to the Champions League this season, summer signing Sakho has been impressed with what he has seen on the pitch.

"For sure, it's tough against Luis because he's a world-class striker. That helps us improve," Sakho said of his training experience with the Uruguayan.

"I'm lucky enough to play with him, but the most important thing is that Luis gives everything for the team.

"He really makes himself available for the group just like all the players here and that's why Liverpool are continuing to make progress with every game."

Any contract offer for Suarez would have to reflect his pivotal role in the side and would probably make him the highest-paid player at the club, dwarfing his current wages of around £100,000 a week.

That would also be a significant statement of intent by owners Fenway Sports Group, which has built its business model more on reducing salary expenditure – highlighted by the loaning out of previous first-choice 'keeper Jose Reina to Napoli and offloading the likes of Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing to West Ham at a considerable loss.

 

BUILDING

But while building the squad has all been about finding younger players with a higher resale value, FSG has always left room for manoeuvre when it comes to paying top money for genuine world-class performers.

Captain Steven Gerrard is currently the club's best-paid player, but with the 33-year-old midfielder contracted only to 2015 and the increased prospect of a money-spinning return to the Champions League there are exceptions to be made.

The Uruguayan's value has rocketed in the last four months and while that may not deter the likes of Real Madrid, who were reported to be interested before their world-record move for Gareth Bale, Liverpool are doing all they can to hold on to their prize asset.


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