The Luis Suarez saga continues to dominate headlines as Liverpool prepare to start the new campaign against Stoke City on Saturday. The bothersome issue will continue to linger around the club until a resolution is found or the transfer window closes.
Mike Whalley of ESPN passed along translated comments Suarez reportedly made to Uruguayan outlet El Observador in which the striker stated he's planning to stay with the Reds. He pointed toward the support he's received as reason for the change of heart:
Luis Suarez has been quoted by El Observador as saying he will stay at Liverpool, following a report that he may even sign a contract extension at Anfield.
Quotes attributed to Suarez emerged in the Uruguayan newspaper, with the forward reported to have said ahead of Uruguay's friendly with Japan in Sendai, Tokyo: "For now, due to all of the people's affection (for me), I will be staying."
While it seemed like a glimmer of hope emerged for Liverpool after being faced with the distinct possibility of losing a key asset, it's never that easy. Not when it comes to the wild world of transfers.
Ben Smith of the BBC reports the club has not heard from Suarez directly about his future despite the reported comments:
Luis Suarez has not contacted Liverpool over his future despite being quoted in Uruguay that he wanted to stay.
The striker is reported to have said: "For now, due to all of the people's affection, I will be staying."
However, the 26-year-old last week stated he wanted to leave Merseyside to play for a Champions League side.
The report states Suarez is due back at training on Friday, at which point the situation should receive at least some clarity. As of now, the stalemate continues as the Reds try to focus on the task at hand, which is getting off to a strong start in Premier League play.
Unfortunately for Liverpool, save for a definitive joint statement from Suarez and the club upon his return to Anfield, the issue isn't going away any time soon. And it's becoming a bigger distraction with each passing day for the players happy at the club.
It leads to the one concern that's been raised throughout the process: Suarez is a special talent and a major piece of the current puzzle at Liverpool, but is keeping him worth the constant headache and distraction the transfer drama has become?
Until recently, the answer was seemingly yes. The Reds never wavered in their stance of wanting to keep him. But with the season approaching and still no official resolution, it will become tougher and tougher to deal with the ongoing issues.
Furthermore, Suarez can't even help the club during the early stages of the campaign as he continues to serve a 10-match ban picked up near the end of last season for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
The fact of the matter is if a club wants the good from Suarez, which is dynamic attacking and highlight-reel goals, it must be prepared to accept some drama. The ban and the transfer saga are two perfect examples of that.
Liverpool want the positives and haven't been willing to change course, so they must be ready for the drama, as well.