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Apr 23, 2013

Liverpool hero Rush expects Suarez to stay

Former Liverpool hero Ian Rush expects controversial striker Luis Suarez to stay and be part of the English Premier League giants' Australian visit.

The Reds will play Melbourne Victory on July 24 at the MCG, which is expected to sell out for the club's first match on Australian soil.

Suarez's reputation for controversy as well as consistent goal output raised a notch with his outrageous bite on a Chelsea opponent's arm in a weekend match.

It sparked widespread condemnation of Suarez, including from his manager Brendan Rodgers who deemed the action unacceptable.

From outside, pressure is building on Liverpool to rid themselves of a striker who despite his 23 goals this season, is a tarnished star because of a shocking list of priors.

But Rush, Liverpool's all-time leading scorer and now a club ambassador, is confident the Uruguayan will remain with the Reds and lead the line against the A-League's Victory in a key pre-season hitout for both sides.

"Luis Suarez will be here next summer because he's a fantastic player," Rush said in Melbourne on Tuesday.

"We've got Steven Gerrard, we've got Luis Suarez, and people want to come and watch them. I'm sure they'll be here (in Melbourne) when pre-season's up."

Liverpool have promised the match, for which a new batch of tickets go on sale on Wednesday after an early intake sold out in 24 hours, will feature their best possible side.

Rush, who played briefly in Australia late in his career with Sydney Olympic in the NSL, believes Australian soccer has improved markedly - primarily because of the Socceroos' efforts.

"The big thing for them was to qualify for the World Cup finals ... yes, it's got a lot stronger," Rush said.

"For any team to qualify for the World Cup, for your national team to do that, that means your league is doing well."

Liverpool and Manchester United will play games in Australia within four days of each other this year - a feat which would have beggared belief in the code's dark days of the early 2000s.

United will play an A-League All-Stars side in Sydney on July 20.

Victory coach Ange Postecoglou, a lifelong Liverpool fan, will coach both Australian teams against the two English giants.

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