Wednesday 22 November 2017

Brendan Rodgers: 'We will be stronger next season without Suárez'

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists his team will be stronger next season, even without Luis Suárez.

Liverpool have finalised the terms of a club-record £75 million fee with Barcelona for the sale of Suarez.

Official talks began over a week ago, and were productive from the start, with the Catalan side agreeing to meet the Uruguay international's buy-out clause.

Subsequent negotiations continued over the method of payment, as the Reds were interested in taking forward Alexis Sanchez as a makeweight in the deal, but with the Chile international having signed for Arsenal on Thursday it became a straight cash transaction.

The finer details of how exactly that is to be paid have now been hammered out and Suarez, currently serving a four-month ban for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, is likely to be confirmed as a Barcelona player next week.

Liverpool, Suarez and Rodgers have all issued statements, with the manager adamant that the club will thrive without Suarez and that "Liverpool FC is bigger than any individual".

Rodgers said: "Luis is a very special talent and I thank him for the role he has played in the team in the past two years, during my time at Liverpool.

"I think he would be the first to accept he has improved as a player over that period, along with the team, and has benefited from being here as we have benefited from him.

"The club have done all they can over a sustained period of time to try to keep Luis at Liverpool.

"It is with great reluctance and following lengthy discussions we have eventually agreed to his wishes to move to Spain for new experiences and challenges.

"We wish him and his young family well; we will always consider them to be friends.

"We are focused on the future, as we strive to continue with the progress we have made and build on last season's excellent Barclays Premier League campaign.

"I am confident we will improve the team further and will be stronger for this coming season, when we will be competing on all fronts; domestically and in the greatest club competition in the world, the Champions League.

"If there is one thing the history of this great club teaches us, it is that Liverpool FC is bigger than any individual.

"I hope our supporters continue to dream and believe that we are moving forward and with continued improvement and progression, together we will bring the success we all crave and deserve."

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