Belfast Telegraph

Suarez knows the score - Rodgers

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hopes Luis Suarez will use his enforced isolation from his team-mates to reflect on his decision to leave Anfield - and change his mind.

The Uruguay striker has not been included in a 22-man squad to play Celtic in a pre-season friendly in Dublin on Saturday evening and he is training on his own after Rodgers took exception to his public pleas to leave Merseyside in search of Champions League football.

Liverpool owner John W Henry on Thursday insisted the 26-year-old will not be sold and said it would be "ludicrous" to let him join domestic rivals Arsenal, who have had an offer of £40million plus £1 rejected.

Speaking at a press conference in Dublin on Friday night, Rodgers said: "Obviously Luis is training on his own at the moment and he understands totally where we're coming from.

"We're in no great rush, to be honest. I needed to make a decision in terms of the well-being of the group. The training through pre-season has been absolutely magnificent. The mentality of the players. I just couldn't afford to break that.

"But when the time comes, we'll come in and speak and once he's ready to train how he's always done we'll put him back in the group.

"It's been a difficult period for him but it's my job to protect the group and the football club. Once he's back in line with the spirit that everyone knows of him, and the commitment, then he'll rejoin the group.

"It's obviously been a difficult few days for him but he knows where we stand as a football club."

Henry on Thursday stressed that Suarez will have to stay with Liverpool and join their push for a top-four finish next season.

"We're quite calm. The club is in control of the situation," Rodgers added. "The ownership have been brilliant.

"They've been quite adamant and clear and have supported our intention of wanting to keep him.

"Luis has got three years left of his contract and he's a player we don't want to sell. He's a player who's valued very highly around the world and someone who we made a conscious effort last season to build the team around - and he had a fantastic season.

"We've got no inclination to sell and we've been strong on that point, and we'll continue to be. And especially to a team that is a rival to us.

"We don't feel like we're fighting a losing battle. He's a contracted player for Liverpool and I'm fairly confident he'll remain that."

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