Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre insists the club remain firm in their determination to keep Luis Suarez.
The striker has made it clear he wants to leave Anfield, with Arsenal making two bids for him. A £30 million offer was rejected earlier this month, before the Gunners followed it up with an increased bid of £40,000,001 on Tuesday.
Arsenal made that second approach in the belief that it would activate a release clause in Suarez’s contract. Liverpool rejected the bid, though, maintaining that the clause obliges them only to inform the 26-year-old of any offers of more than £40 million – and not to sell at that price.
Speaking at a press conference in Bangkok, where Liverpool are preparing for Sunday’s friendly against Thailand, Ayre said: “It’s never been our intention to sell Luis. We've received 2 separate offers from Arsenal and rejected both.”
Suarez made a 20-minute substitute appearance and set up a goal as Liverpool beat Melbourne Victory 2-0 in Australia on Wednesday. It was his first appearance since being handed a 10-match domestic ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield on April 21.
Suarez trained with the squad in Thailand on Friday morning, and manager Brendan Rodgers has indicated that the forward will play on Sunday as long as he is fit enough.
The striker, who was Liverpool's 30-goal top scorer last season, joined the club’s tour of the Far East and Australia late, having been allowed a break after playing for Uruguay at the Confederations Cup in Brazil in June.
Rodgers, though, has warned Suarez that he will be making a major mistake if he tries to force through a move.
He told the Guardian: “I know what we are trying to build and grow, so why would you swap Liverpool to go to Arsenal? “I am not sure that it adds up, to be honest. Arsenal has a wonderful history in its own right but Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“OK, we might not be in the Champions League and haven't been for a while now but our competitors have grown around us and we have to step up to the challenge now.
“Would it be a mistake for Luis to leave? 100%. The team was built around Luis last season. I made some big calls to get the team to work in a way to suit his strengths and it is no coincidence he had a great season apart from the end bit. We would love to have him to continue the next phase.
“It is difficult for Luis, I understand that. If a team wants you, it can be difficult. I am sure Luis will have seen the sheer size and status of the club, so we'll just see how it goes. It is not something we want to run on too long.”