Sport Soccer

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Liverpool will call the shots on transfer, not Suarez – Rodgers

Luis Suarez will hold talks with Brendan Rodgers this week
Luis Suarez will hold talks with Brendan Rodgers this week
Brendan Rodgers - insists the club will decide the player's future

Mark Ogden

Luis Suarez will return to action for Liverpool in Melbourne tomorrow after Brendan Rodgers warned the unsettled forward that the club is too big to be controlled by any player.

Having repeatedly stated his determination to leave Anfield this summer, Suarez arrived in Australia on Sunday to link up with Rodgers' squad ahead of the friendly against Melbourne Victory in front a 100,000 sell-out at the MCG.

The 26-year-old, who trained alongside his team-mates at an hour-long session at Melbourne's AAMI Stadium yesterday for the first time since going public on his intentions, was the subject of a £30m offer from Arsenal earlier this month – a bid which was rejected by Liverpool.

Interest

Arsenal retain a serious interest in signing Suarez and Liverpool are duty-bound under the terms of Suarez's £100,000-a-week contract to inform the player of any offers in excess of £40m.

But Rodgers and managing director Ian Ayre remain steadfast in their position that the Uruguayan will not be sold.

And with Manchester United holding firm on their stance that Wayne Rooney will not leave Old Trafford this summer, Rodgers insists that Liverpool are also one of the small group of clubs big enough to resist attempts by players to force a move elsewhere.

"Absolutely," Rodgers said. "This is something we will control. This situation will not be controlled by the player.

"I am very strong on the values of the club, where we are and how we operate. Football and society is different nowadays, the (transfer) market is different and players can create different ways to open it up.

"But I have always said that there is no player bigger than Liverpool Football Club and that is something we are very strong on.

"Do I expect him to stay? Very much so. A lot has been said in the off season, but the reality is that he is very much a player of importance."

"Every player has a value and a worth, but it doesn't mean we are going to sell him," said the manager.

Rodgers and Suarez (below) held informal discussions at the team hotel yesterday after the player took part in a small-sided training session and fitness work in the swimming pool.

And with Suarez due to remain with the squad for the remainder of the tour, which moves on to Thailand on Thursday, Rodgers admits that talks will continue.

"I will do what I have done with the rest of the players and sit down with him," Rodgers said.

"The reality is that we do have one or two things to clear up, but that will be done and we will continue to work.

"Luis and I have been in regular contact, but by the time we got here on Sunday night and had a bite to eat, it was late. We have that sort of relationship, though, where communication is open. I always tell him what I feel.

"Luis is here as expected, he is an integral part of the squad and we will chat at some stage. The bottom line is he's a Liverpool player.

"We have only had one bid for him and it was nowhere near the value we have of him and there has been nothing since."

The strength of the reaction to Suarez from the club's Australia-based supporters could yet prove influential in the outcome of his battle to leave, with an anticipation that he will be greeted warmly by fans at an open training session today and during tomorrow night's game.

But despite his brief summer break, Rodgers insists that Suarez will feature in the friendly in Melbourne.

"I'm sure he will want to play some part," Rodgers said. "The players are not quite up to 90 minutes yet.

"In Indonesia on Saturday, I played a team for about 60 minutes and looked to make changes, but all players will be involved and have some part to play because it is about our preparation.

"Luis will train and we will communicate over the next few weeks, but we have spoken quite a lot over the summer.

"We will chat more, but he is a Liverpool player, he will be part of the group and you could see his closeness with the squad when we arrived on Sunday night." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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