Rodgers upbeat over star striker’s club future

Pre-season friendly: Celtic v Liverpool, Aviva Stadium, 5pm, today

The Liverpool manager last night stated Luis Suarez has expressed regret about publicly stating his desire to move to Arsenal. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

The Liverpool manager last night stated Luis Suarez has expressed regret about publicly stating his desire to move to Arsenal. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

Sat, Aug 10, 2013, 07:11

So, according to Brendan Rodgers, the wolves have been chased away down Anfield road. The Liverpool manager last night stated Luis Suarez has expressed regret about publicly stating his desire to move to Arsenal.

“No, he has,” said Rodgers. “Obviously Luis is training on his own at the moment and he understands totally where we are coming from.

“This gives him a chance. It has been a difficult period for him but it is my job to protect the group as well and the football club and once he is back in line with the spirit that everyone knows and the commitment then he will rejoin the group.”

Rodgers, along with Celtic manager Neil Lennon, was speaking from the Oak Room in Dublin’s Mansion House ahead of today’s match, to celebrate The Gathering at the Aviva stadium.

“It has been a difficult two days for Luis but he knows where we stand as a football club.

“I’ve always said before that we are quite calm and the club is in control of the situation. Luis has got three years left on his contract. He is a player that we don’t want to sell.”

Liverpool owner John W Henry stated categorically this week that Suarez would not be sold to Arsenal, their main rivals for a Champions League place, or any other club.

“We don’t feel like we are fighting a losing battle,” said Rodgers.

Is there a point where it does more harm than good for Liverpool to keep the Uruguayan at Anfield?

“I think that is dependent on the player really . . . there comes a point and a time when he’ll recognise that the club aren’t going to sell. Once that time comes and he has his head around that he will go on to the pitch he gives nothing less than 100 per cent. That’s why it is difficult because at the moment he is not at that point.”

Suarez joins up with the Uruguayan squad next week and is suspended from club football until late September for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

“The door will be open to Luis,” added Rodgers. “This guy is a world-class striker. I have absolutely no question that once he is back . . . you will see the same impact.”

Rodgers also said winger Raheem Sterling, who pleaded not guilty yesterday to the accusation of assaulting a woman, has travelled to Dublin with the squad.

“It is obvious disappointing . . . It is something we will review later.”

It was also confirmed that Daniel Agger has replaced the retired Jamie Carragher as club vice-captain.

Meanwhile, on Kevin Doyle’s possible switch to Celtic, Lennon said: “He’s a player that we tried to get in January but the situation has changed . . . we have expressed an interest but that is as far as it has goes.”