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May 6, 2014

Rodgers agrees new Liverpool deal

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has hailed Luis Suarez as the best player he has ever played with.

LIVERPOOL -- Brendan Rodgers has provisionally agreed a new four-year deal to stay on as Liverpool manager, sources have told ESPN FC.

Liverpool's owners have pledged their support to Brendan Rodgers.
Brendan Rodgers will stay under contract for the next four years.

Usher: Defensive growing pains

Rodgers, who arrived at Anfield from Swansea in June 2012, has been in talks to extend a contract that currently runs until the end of next season.

The deal has yet to be signed, sources have told ESPN FC, but that could yet be done before the Reds' final Premier League match of the season, at home to Newcastle.

Managing director Ian Ayre, speaking at the club's end of season awards ceremony at the city's BT Convention Centre on Tuesday evening, said of Rodgers that "we'll all look forward to working with him for many years, we hope."

Rodgers signed a three-year deal when he arrived at Anfield, with an option for an extra season depending on performance. The final year of the new contract will not be optional.

Liverpool will go into Sunday's game still with a chance of winning their first league title since 1990.

But their hopes of finishing top took a severe blow as they let slip a three-goal lead in drawing 3-3 at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Rodgers' side lead the league by a point, but second-placed Manchester City have a game in hand and can go top when they host Aston Villa on Wednesday.

City's superior goal difference means that, realistically, they will win the league if they manage to take four points from their final two matches.

But Rodgers has impressed Liverpool's Boston-based owners Fenway Sports Group by guiding the club to Champions League qualification this year after last season's seventh-place finish.

His team are currently the Premier League's leading scorers this season with 99 goals. Though City sit at 96 goals and could catch Liverpool in their final two games.

Principal owner John W. Henry said in April that the club were "ahead of schedule" in launching a title bid this season.

And Ayre paid tribute to Rodgers for leading that challenge, saying: "For those of us who are fortunate enough to work closely with Brendan, I can tell you that his dedication and commitment to this team and this club are fantastic.

"I'd say it's hard enough to find a good manager to run a top club in football these days.

"But to find one who's not only a great man, but also understands this club and what it stands for, and what is special about it, is truly a unique find -- so we'll all look forward to working with him for many years, we hope."

At the awards ceremony, it was revealed that 31-goal scorer Luis Suarez had been voted the club's player of the year by both his teammates and the supporters. The striker leads the Premier League in goals scored this season.

The 27-year-old has already won this season's national player of the year awards handed out the Professional Footballers' Association and the Football Writers' Association.

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