Monday 23 April 2018

Suarez set for crunch talks with Rodgers

Luis Suarez will head to Australia amid speculation about his future
Luis Suarez will head to Australia amid speculation about his future

Mark Ogden

Luis Suarez will discuss his Liverpool future with Brendan Rodgers during the next 24 hours after reporting for pre-season training in Melbourne ahead of the club's arrival in Australia last night.

Suarez, handed an extended summer break by manager Rodgers after representing Uruguay during last month's Confederations Cup in Brazil, arrived in the city almost 12 hours ahead of his team-mates, who flew in from Jakarta following a 2-0 victory against an Indonesia XI on Saturday.

The 26-year-old joins up with the club's tour of Australia and the Far East after repeatedly stating his determination to leave Anfield since the end of last season, claiming to have lost patience with his treatment at the hands of the English media following a 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

Despite receiving a £30m offer from Arsenal for Suarez, however, Liverpool have insisted they have no intention of selling the player.

Real Madrid are also monitoring Suarez's situation at Anfield, but with Rodgers reiterating the club's position on the forward, who signed a new contract just 12 months ago, the pair are due to meet face-to-face in Melbourne for the first time since the player went public with his desire to leave earlier this summer.

Suarez refused to discuss his future with reporters yesterday when pursued by television crews at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport following his arrival from South America.

The former Ajax striker was ushered through the arrivals hall, ignoring a question whether "Liverpool fans should still be buying your shirt?" as he was escorted to a waiting car by airport security.

With Rodgers and the rest of the Liverpool squad arriving at the team hotel shortly after 10.0pm, no formal meeting between Suarez and the manager is understood to have taken place last night.

But discussions about the player's intentions, and Liverpool's position, are expected to go ahead following training today, and Rodgers has stressed that he still sees a future at Anfield for the Uruguayan.

"I'm looking forward to seeing him, he's a player I've always supported," said Rodgers.

"I understand the situation but the bottom line is he is employed by the club. The money goes into his bank at the end of every month."

Liverpool are due to play Melbourne Victory on Wednesday in front of a sell-out crowd of almost 100,000 at the MCG, but Suarez is unlikely to figure having yet to start pre-season training following his break.

Meanwhile, Rodgers has explained why he has allowed goalkeeper Pepe Reina to complete a season-long loan move to Napoli – managed by former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez – following the £9m signing of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland.

With Mignolet set to claim the No 1 shirt this season, Reina's £110,000-a-week wages have been key in the decision to sanction the loan deal.

"Financially it was something that we needed to look at," Rodgers said.

"That would be the reason, because you wouldn't move on a top goalkeeper.

"The situation reared its head over the last couple of months and I had to prepare by bringing in another 'keeper.

"I have a lot of time for Reina and he understands what I want to do. But this is a World Cup year and if he wasn't playing, it would severely harm his chances of going to Brazil with Spain." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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