Liverpool chairman Tom Werner says the club’s supporters should not be counting down to the imminent end of Luis Suarez’s Anfield career, insisting the plan is to secure Champions League football—and the player’s future.
Werner is a realist, preferring not to get carried away with Liverpool’s start to the season because “we have a softer schedule at the start of this year than we did last year,” per Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror.
However, he takes pride in the fact Brendan Rodgers managed to persuade one of the world’s best forwards to stay during the summer, claiming there is no plan to sell Suarez in the next 12 months. Holt provides the quotes:
There was interest in him from other clubs throughout the summer but it was important for us to try to keep him.
That does not mean I don’t respect his intense desire to play in the Champions League. But it would be a very happy day next May if and when we get to the Champions League by finishing in the top four and he is part of it.
It is our intention to keep him for a while. Our intention is to build a winning club and he is integral to that.
Suarez’s long-term future almost certainly rests on Liverpool’s ability to provide him with Champions League football.
The Uruguayan made clear his intention to play on Europe’s greatest stage during the summer, per Martin Blackburn of The Sun (subscription required), but Arsenal did not stump up the necessary transfer fee while Real Madrid never formalised their interest.
Since the transfer window shut, Suarez has already been linked to a January move to Madrid, per Paul Collins of the Daily Mail, although it would be a major surprise if Liverpool—so stubborn during the close season—suddenly released their talisman midway through their Premier League campaign.
The real test will come next summer, although Liverpool will make negotiations significantly smoother if they can offer Suarez Champions League football.
There is clear evidence on the pitch that the player is happy at Liverpool. He is playing with zest and desire, scoring goals and celebrating with the fans.
Suarez has built a lethal partnership with Daniel Sturridge—named among the best in the league by Rodgers—and if the Reds finish the season where they are now (second), they will return to Europe’s top table.
Additionally, Suarez recently spoke of his own personal growth, revealing he plays with less anger nowadays, according to Matthew Nash of the Metro—hopefully ending scenes such as his ugly bite on Branislav Ivanovic last term.
Liverpool own a player who has a family—two young children—raised on Merseyside and who is clearly loved by his teammates and is capable of hurting any defence in the world.
All Liverpool now need to do is give him the platform to prove it.