Luis Suarez Says Steven Gerrard Convinced Him on Liverpool Stay Amid Arsenal Bid

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2019

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, right, celebrates with teammate Luis Suarez after Brighton and Hove Albion scored an own goal during their English FA Cup fifth round soccer match at Anfield, Liverpool, England, Sunday Feb. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Tim Hales)
Tim Hales/Associated Press

Liverpool supporters need no encouragement to sing the praises of Steven Gerrard, but the Anfield faithful have yet another reason to be thankful to their former captain after Luis Suarez revealed the club legend played a key role in keeping him on Merseyside.

Suarez, now at Barcelona, spoke to OTRO (h/t Goal's Chris Burton) and said he was close to joining Arsenal in 2013 before Gerrard intervened:

"We qualified for the UEFA Europa League but the season ended badly.

"I'm about to go to Arsenal, forcing myself to go, and Steven tells me 'I promise that if you stay this year you're going to take off and next year you'll go to Bayern, Barcelona, Real Madrid or whichever one you want, but stay this year because you won't be better off at Arsenal.'

"This was the last conversation I had with Gerrard at that moment and I told my agent that I had made my decision and I was staying.

"His words convinced me in that moment. They came from a person who cared for me, who wanted my well-being, who saw me suffer during training and saw me sad.

"They were words from a true captain that had an impact in that moment and helped me a lot."

The Gunners had put in a bid of £40,000,001, as they believed a bid in excess of £40 million would trigger a release clause in his Liverpool contract.

It prompted a memorable reaction from Liverpool owner John W. Henry:

At that point, the Uruguayan had scored 51 goals in two-and-a-half seasons at Anfield, but he had also been handed an eight-match ban by the FA after being found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra and a 10-game ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic during that time.

After changing his mind, he remained at Liverpool for one more campaign, which was his best in a Reds shirt as he bagged 31 goals to help the team come close to winning the Premier League title.

He then joined Barcelona, where he has scored 172 goals and laid on 93 assists in 236 matches to help them win three La Liga titles, four Copas del Rey and the UEFA Champions League.

Though he's not quite the same force he once was now he's 32, he offered a reminder of what he can still do in Barca's 5-1 Champions League win against Lyon on Wednesday:

Included in his performance was an assist for Philippe Coutinho and a sublime bit of skill:

Aside from this season, in which Liverpool one point behind Manchester City with eight matches remaining, the 2013-14 campaign was the closest the Reds have come to winning the Premier League since it began.

As for Arsenal, they have not put in a strong challenge for the league title since they last won it in 2004.

Had Suarez joined them, things could have been different for the Gunners.  

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