Brendan Rodgers believes Luis Suarez will still be at Liverpool next season as the striker prepares to play his first game for the club since the Branislav Ivanovic bite shame.
Suarez, 26, has made no secret of his desire to leave Liverpool this summer, citing his treatment by the British media for his determination to escape the Premier League. But Arsenal are attempting to keep the Uruguayan in England and have already had one bid for the striker rejected, with reports of a second offer having been lodged.
Rodgers is adamant that Suarez will lead the Liverpool line again next season having scored 23 Premier League goals, and 30 in all competitions, last term. But he did suggest that the player could be sold if another team offers what Liverpool believe to be his market value.
Asked if Suarez would be at Liverpool after the transfer window closes on September 2, Rodgers said: “Yes, very much so. There’s been a lot of speculation over the course of the close season but the reality is that he’s a player who is very much valued at Liverpool and unless there’s any sort of offer that comes in that’s anywhere near his value, there’s nothing to consider. We haven’t had that.”
The forward has stated that he would “find it hard to say no” to Real Madrid, but it is understood that they have not made a bid for him. Rodgers has indicated that he will hold discussions with Suarez in the coming days.
The manager said: “As we’ve always been as a club, I’m quite relaxed about it. He’s an integral part of our squad. We’ll chat at some stage, like I do with all the players. But he’s back, he’s in great spirits. He’s obviously an integral part of the group - you could see his closeness with his teammates last night when they were all seeing him for the first time in a number of weeks.
“He and I have been in regular communication throughout the summer.”
Asked how much Suarez was worth, Rodgers added: “I didn’t say we would sell him. I said that every player has a value and a worth. It doesn’t mean you’ve got to sell them.”
Suarez has been on a break, having played for Uruguay at the Confederations Cup in Brazil in June and will make his Liverpool return against Melbourne Victory in a friendly on Wednesday.
The 10-match ban he received for biting Chelsea defender Ivanovic does not apply to international football, European club games or friendlies, so Suarez is free to play on Wednesday, having joined up with Liverpool’s pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia over the weekend.
Asked if Suarez would feature against A-League side Victory at the MCG on Wednesday, Rodgers told a press conference: “They will all be involved, they will all have some part to play.”
If Suarez remains at Liverpool, he will make his comeback from suspension in the third round of the Capital One Cup, or at Sunderland if Liverpool are knocked out in the second round.