Uruguayan hit-man is happy at Anfield, says boss Brendan Rodgers.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says Luis Suarez is happy and Anfield and has insisted the club will do everything in their power to keep the Uruguayan.
Suarez is a target for top clubs across the continent – including Bayern Munich and Real Madrid – after a fantastic season in which he netted 23 Premier League goals.
But the 26-year-old’s camapaign was again marred by controversy and outrage after he was banned for 10 matches for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic last in April.
Rodgers’ first task on arriving at Anfield last summer was to fend off bids for the former Ajax striker and the Northern Irishman is confident that the Reds will hold on to their prized asset again this summer.
“Listen, every player has their price but there’s certainly no pressure for the club to sell him. We’re trying to build that bit of quality so he’s not for sale,” Rodgers told the Daily Mirror.
“I don’t have any doubts there will be interest in him this summer, because he’s up there.
“There’s a small percentage of players who are world class and he’s in that bracket, so I don’t think it will be too dissimilar to when I first came in last summer, with clubs making their interest known.
“People will want to take him, but I think we all recognise how integral he is. The owners have been absolutely unequivocal in their resolve in terms of wanting to keep him.
“I had a meeting with the owners when they came over and talked about lots of stuff and that was one of them.”
Although Suarez’s domestic ban will rule him out of the first six Liverpool matches of next season, the forward will spend the next month on international duty at the Confederations Cup.
Rodgers, however, says he cannot worry about Suarez mingling with the top players from Spain and Italy, an environment in which ‘tapping up’ is not uncommon.
“You can’t control that – people getting into his ear while he’s away. These are professionals, and Luis has got a tournament to play,” the 40-year-old continued.
“But I can’t worry about that. I know we that as a club and me as a manager have supported him, told him when he’s been right and when he’s been wrong.
“The supporters show their passion for him relentlessly so, as a club, I don’t think we can do any more.
“We have supported him when he’s been in turmoil and when he’s had setbacks, when there’s been traumas over the last couple of years. He knows he did wrong.
“Yes, there was that initial period of shock and anger at the beginning but a wee bit of reality has set now. I look at him in training and he’s still working hard.
“He was committed to wanting to stay and work with the club. I think he’s very happy here – as a club we’re doing everything to keep him and all the players content, and in the main I think they are.”
Some reports have suggested that Suarez is ready to turn his back on England after he was villied in the media in the wake of the Ivanvic incident.
But Rodgers praised the Uruaguay international for his attitude and said Suarez will not be adversey affected by his ban.
“This is a guy who lives his life for playing football – he’s been brilliant. Apart from those first few days when I gave him a period away, he’s come back and he’s got on with it,” the former Swansea boss added.
“He goes away now with a chance to reflect, plays in a tournament over the summer, and will join us after that. He will just get his head down and work, take his punishment and move on.
“I think where he’s happiest is with his mates in the team or with his family. He just loves his football and I’m sure being away with Uruguay will give him a focus and concentration.
“Obviously he had a circumstance which made it extremely difficult for him, but I’ve seen nothing to make me think anything other than he will want to stay.
“I’ve been in contact with his agent, so I think he needs to go away, play in the tournament, have a period of reflection and come back, raring to go, to help us have a good season.”