Brendan Rodgers has declared that Luis Suarez must consider the Liverpool fans who have “stood by him like a son” as the striker considers his future.
Suarez created a goal for Iago Aspas during a 20-minute substitute appearance as Rodgers’ side beat Melbourne Victory 2-0 in a friendly on Wednesday.
It was the Uruguay international’s first game for Liverpool since he first declared publicly at the end of May that he wanted to leave the club.
Arsenal have had two bids for the 26-year-old rejected by Liverpool – including an offer of more than £40 million, made on Tuesday.
It is understood that the striker is keen to hold talks with the Gunners, but Rodgers is hopeful that he will stay.
And the Liverpool manager, who was scheduled to hold talks with Suarez after Wednesday’s match in Melbourne, has increased the pressure on the forward by reminding him of the backing he has enjoyed from Liverpool fans.
Rodgers suggested that Liverpool’s fans stood by Suarez even though he has been given two long-term suspensions since joining the club in January 2011 from Ajax.
He was banned for eight games after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra during a Premier League game in October 2011, and he is currently four games into a ten-match domestic suspension imposed after he bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a Premier League game at Anfield on April 21.
Asked about Arsenal’s interest, Rodgers said: “There’s no doubt that the market these days for top players is very small, so Luis will always be linked with top clubs.
“I think that the support he has always received from the supporters and the people of the city of Liverpool has been unrivalled. He’s missed a lot of games for the club for various reasons, and the people have stood by him like a son, and really looked after him.
“So I’m sure whatever happens in the coming weeks, that will be in his mind, because it’s certainly something you can never forget.”
Rodgers declined to comment specifically on the Arsenal bids, or give any in-depth information regarding his planned meeting with Suarez.
Asked about the latest Gunners offer, Rodgers said: “I’ve got nothing to report on that. I’ve had nothing from the club. The only talks have been between me and Luis.
“I’ve had a few conversations with Luis [previously], and there’s nothing new to report, really.
“He’s been surrounded by speculation, but he’s here, working with the group.”
Suarez flew to Melbourne on Sunday to join up with Liverpool’s pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia, having been given a break by the club after playing for Uruguay at the Confederations Cup in Brazil in June.
Rodgers added: “He’s a little tired because he only flew in on Sunday then he trained a double session on Monday after being away for three weeks.
“But he’s very much a Liverpool player and over the next few weeks we’ve got to get him up to speed and have him raring to go for the new season.”