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Match 23
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Suarez is going nowhere, says Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers is adamant that his star striker Luis Suarez is not for sale - because he has long-term plans to build his Liverpool team around the striker.

• City dismiss Suarez reports
• Blog: The force of nature rolls on

Manager Rodgers dismissed reports linking Manchester City with a £40 million move for the Uruguay international, as have officials at the Etihad Stadium.

He said there would be no "bidding war" for the club's top scorer, who has eight Premier League goals this season, when the transfer window re-opened in January.

Rodgers sees Suarez as the key figure as he tries to rebuild a lopsided squad on a limited budget, but reports on Thursday morning claimed City manager Roberto Mancini wanted to sign the 25-year-old.

But a senior figure at the Etihad told the Manchester Evening News there was no truth to the reports, while an Anfield source told ESPN: "There has been no contact from Manchester City, and it all seems something about nothing."

And Rodgers underlined those comments, saying Suarez - who only recently signed a new long-term Liverpool deal - was going nowhere.

"There will be no bidding war - Luis Suarez is staying here," he said. "He's not for sale. If we lost Luis then we would have no strikers, so I don't think we can afford to lose anyone.

"He's certainly not someone we want to sell or move on. He's been a brilliant player to work with and we want to add to our squad, not take people out of it - especially a world-class player."

Rodgers accepts that there will be speculation surrounding the future of a player in such good form when Liverpool, with two league wins this season, are struggling for victories.

The Merseysiders are 13th in the Premier League as they prepare to face Wigan at Anfield on Saturday, and Suarez could be forgiven for wondering whether his talents belong a little higher up the food chain.

But Rodgers said: "I don't have the fear that Luis's head will get turned. I've said it before and I've said it again - great players will always leave great clubs. That is always the case, and always will be the case.

"However, at this moment in time the player is very, very happy. He's in the form of his life. He's working so well, and he loves everything about the club.

"We want to build a group around him. We're in the very early stages of trying to form something here, and Luis is an integral part of that.

"For us, it's not even a discussion point, really. I can respect that, because of his level, people will want to speculate about that. But that's all it is - speculation. He's very happy, and I'm very happy to work with him."

Rodgers said he would like to see other players chip in with more goals - Suarez's team-mates have managed only six in the league between them - but argued that it is not unusual for top clubs to rely heavily on individuals.

He added: "You look at Manchester United and Robin van Persie. Barcelona wouldn't be the same without Lionel Messi's goals, or Real Madrid without Cristiano Ronaldo's goals.

"Normally, you find that the top players are defined by their goals and games. That's what he does, Luis. He's a very, very important member of our team."

Asked to explain why Suarez has enjoyed so much individual success this season, Rodgers suggested he may have benefited from playing as a lone forward.

He explained: "Some players prefer to play up there in that central role on their own, and I think you find with Luis that he moves freely in that false nine role. But what you need to have then is people moving in off that, into the spaces that he vacates."

He said Suarez was "improving all the time" and added: "The more goals you score as a striker, the more confident you become.

"He goes into every game knowing that he has a great chance to get on the scoresheet, but he has to credit that to his team-mates as well.

"It's very much about the team ethos and, over the coming months and years, we'll look to grow people around him to support him even more."


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