Sunday 17 December 2017

Brendan Rodgers: We did everything we could to keep Luis Suarez

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says the club did everything it could to keep star striker Luis Suarez
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says the club did everything it could to keep star striker Luis Suarez

Brendan Rodgers has said that Liverpool did "everything" they could to try and keep Luis Suárez as they began life after the striker with a pre-season friendly defeat.

Barcelona announced yesterday that the controversial Uruguayan was "100 per cent" their player, although the striker was conspicuous by his absence at a press conference due to his four-month Fifa ban.

Liverpool manager Rodgers, however, is adamant that the 27-year-old's £75 million departure was more down to his desire to move to Catalonia rather than his antics in Brazil - where he was found guilty of biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder at the World Cup.

"We did everything we could as a club to keep Luis," he said

"He wanted to go and play in Spain, and unfortunately when a player no longer wants to play for you, we need as a club to look at it.

"It was his decision for him to go, he's gone to Barcelona, a club he wanted to play for and now we'll move on," he added in the Liverpool Echo.

"I'm not sure if he would have gone regardless of the World Cup. But I never felt that towards the end of the season, and likewise he never said he would give us another year either. He had obviously signed a new deal so we had that.

"But I think we have had great service out of Luis and it's one that we can't worry too much about now, it's done, it's gone and our focus is here.

"There is a lot of work going on with the recruitment team in terms of getting in the right player and I am sure we can identify that.

"This club and many other clubs have shown over a period of time you move on, and believe me, it will be a really exciting season for us."

Suarez will be ineligible to play for Barca - or even to train with his team-mates - unless any appeal lodged with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is successful.

Liverpool, meanwhile, begun life after Suarez with a 2-1 pre-season friendly against Danish side Brondby.

Christian Norgaard scored the opener before Liverpool's Swedish international winger Kristoffer Peterson levelled early in the second half. Ferhan Hasani hit the Brondby winner in stoppage time.

Rodgers shrugged off the loss, preferring to concentrate on the challenges of the new Premier League season which starts on August 16.

"This year, we know it's going to be extremely competitive. Every team will strengthen and we'll be exactly the same. But the beauty for us is that we're a young group and we're bringing in young players that are hungry," said Rodgers.

"We will progress again from last season. It's going to be a really exciting season. I've seen development in the players already in the short period of time that we've been back. This season we have the belief to go along with the quality."

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