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 By Mike Whalley

Suarez signs new Liverpool contract

Luis Suarez has ended speculation about his Liverpool future by signing a new contract until 2018.

Whalley: Questions remain
Macintosh: Deal can bring trophies

Suarez, 26, has been in fine form this season, scoring 17 goals in 11 Premier League appearances since his return from suspension in September.

His form, which has helped his club to second place in the division, led Liverpool to make an effort to extend a contract he signed in 2012, which ran until 2016.

The club refused to comment on the length of the new deal, saying only that it was "long-term", but sources have told ESPN that it commits him to staying at Anfield for an additional two years. He will be 31 by the time it expires in June 2018.

ESPN sources revealed earlier in the week that a new contract was close to being agreed which would see the Uruguay international become the highest-paid player in the club’s history.

Liverpool confirmed the news on Friday, with Suarez telling the club’s official website: "I am delighted to have agreed a new deal with Liverpool and have my future secured for the long term.

"We have some great players and the team is growing and improving all the time. I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool.  My aim is to help get us there as quickly as possible.

"Without doubt the backing I have received from the Liverpool fans has influenced my decision. I am so proud to represent them and go out to do my best for them every time I pull on the shirt.

"We have a special relationship; they have love for me and in return I love them back. I will always do my best for them and hopefully we can achieve success together."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hailed the signing as "crucial" to what the club are trying to achieve.

He said: "This is fantastic news for everyone associated with the club; the team, the owners and most importantly the supporters.

"Luis is a world-class talent and securing his services is crucial for what we are trying to achieve here.

"What's most important and most exciting is that, at just 26 years old, his best years are still ahead of him and we now know we'll be seeing him reach that potential in a Liverpool shirt."

Suarez looked set to leave Liverpool during the summer, having been handed a 10-match domestic ban in April for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a Premier League match at Anfield.

The striker stated publicly at the end of May that he wanted to leave Liverpool, which prompted Arsenal to make two unsuccessful bids to sign him.

The second of those bids, an offer of 40,000,001 pounds, was made in the mistaken belief that it would trigger a release clause in the striker’s contract.

In August, Liverpool’s principal owner John W Henry said it would be "ludicrous" to sell Suarez to the Gunners -- considered rivals for a Champions League spot.

The club stood their ground by refusing to sell, and Suarez accepted that he would be staying at Anfield.

Greeting the striker’s new deal on Friday, Henry said: "We are committed to working hard to keep our best players and this is an indication that we are moving in the right direction and moving at a pace that impresses one of the best players in world football.

"The club has made major strides forward in recent years and we are all committed to delivering the success our supporters want and deserve."

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