Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said he plans to hold talks with Luis Suarez about the striker’s future and expects him to stay at the soccer club.
Suarez, 26, joined up with Liverpool yesterday in Melbourne, where the Reds are playing the second game of their pre-season tour in two days, having been given extended leave following last month’s Confederations Cup.
Suarez, Liverpool’s top scorer last season with 30 goals, said during interviews at the eight-nation tournament in Brazil that he wants to play for a team competing in Europe’s elite Champions League. Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre said July 15 that his club rejected an offer from Arsenal for Suarez.
“I’m quite relaxed about it,” Rodgers said today of the speculation surrounding Suarez. “Luis is out here as expected. He’s an integral part of our squad. We’ll chat at some stage.”
Suarez, who joined from Ajax for 26.5 million euros ($34.8 million) in January 2011, will miss the first six games of the season because of a 10-match ban for biting an opponent. As well as wanting to play in the Champions League, which Liverpool hasn’t competed in since 2009, Suarez also cited critical treatment from the U.K. media as a reason to quit the country before saying most recently he was “flattered” by interest from London-based Arsenal.
Rodgers said Suarez will train with the team today ahead of the July 24 exhibition against Australian A-League club Melbourne Victory. The game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is a sell-out and organizers said about 95,000 people may attend.
When asked if he expects Suarez to be playing for Liverpool next season, Rodgers replied: “Yes, very much so.”
“The reality is that he’s a player that is very much valued at Liverpool and unless there’s any sort of offer that comes in which is anywhere near his value then there’s nothing to consider, and we haven’t had that,” Rodgers said at a televised news conference. “Every player has a value or worth, it doesn’t mean you’ve got to sell him.”