Rodgers: Suarez going nowhere
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers maintains they have no intention of selling Luis Suarez to Arsenal, despite the striker stepping up his campaign to force a move.
After weeks of speculation over the 26-year-old's intentions, which began earlier in the summer when he publicly admitted he could not turn down an approach from Real Madrid, the Uruguay international has threatened to submit a transfer request by the end of the week.
He believes the club have reneged on an agreement to allow him to join a Champions League club after rejecting two bids from Arsenal, the second amounting to £40million plus £1 in an attempt to activate a clause they believed - apparently mistakenly - would force the Reds to sell.
However, Rodgers appears to have no intention of letting Suarez join the Gunners, although he has admitted every player does have a market value.
"We have no intention of selling one of the top players in the world to one of our rivals," said the Northern Irishman. "The message is very clear: Luis Suarez is very much a Liverpool player."
Rodgers, speaking just hours before Suarez gave an interview complaining of broken promises by the Merseysiders, added: "We've obviously had a couple of bids from one club that has been nowhere near the valuation.
"I repeat - nowhere near the valuation of what he is worth in this market. There's no change to that. It's the same with any of our players - we're very much a team that's trying to build and go forward. For that, we want to keep our best players.
"There's not even really a discussion point, unless someone comes within anywhere near the valuation of Luis. At this present time, that's not the case."
Suarez is adamant he should be allowed to leave.
"Last year I had the opportunity to move to a big European club and I stayed on the understanding that if we failed to qualify for the Champions League the following season I'd be allowed to go," he told the Daily Telegraph and Guardian.
"I spoke with Brendan Rodgers several times and he told me, 'Stay another season, and you have my word if we don't make it then I will personally make sure that you can leave'.
"I gave absolutely everything last season but it was not enough to give us a top-four finish - now all I want is for Liverpool to honour our agreement.
"They gave me their word a year ago and now I want them to honour that. I have the club's word and we have the written contract and we are happy to take this to the Premier League for them to decide the case, but I do not want it to come to that. We have the backing of the PFA."
While Suarez believes there is a clause in his contract which allows him to leave, Liverpool have confidence in their position.
They have always maintained the £40million mark was the point at which they had to inform the player of an approach and was the basis for the beginning of negotiations should they wish to sell.
The club did not want to comment on Suarez's interview or the nuances of his contract but throughout the summer they have maintained they do not want to sell.
Suarez criticising Liverpool for double standards may seem ironic considering some of the difficulties he has caused them, and especially as just over six months ago he gave an interview in which he said he would stay at the club even if they did not qualify for the Champions League.
When he was accused of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, the club backed him to the hilt, including those now infamous Suarez T-shirts worn before a game at Wigan, up to and beyond the point when he was banned for eight matches.
On his return to action after that, he immediately generated more controversy by appearing to refuse to shake Evra's hand at Old Trafford.
Then manager Kenny Dalglish was fully supportive, but in the aftermath both he, the player and the club apologised after it was suggested Suarez had misled his manager as to his intentions for the pre-match niceties.
Liverpool were equally supportive, although more forceful in their management of the situation, after the striker was banned for 10 matches for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in April.
"People say Liverpool deserve more from me but I have scored 50 goals in less than 100 games and now they could double the money they paid for me," said Suarez. "They defended me, just like I defended them on the pitch."
Despite Rodgers' protestations they do not want to sell, former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton believes the line has now been crossed.
"They should let him go. There's no player bigger than any club, and certainly not Liverpool," he told talkSPORT. "There have been bigger players than Luis Suarez who have left.
"You don't want a player like that at the club. He's going to be moping about in the changing room because he hasn't got the move he wants.
"It seems to me he's tried to manufacture a move. The way things have transpired, with what he's said, it doesn't sit well.
"He's burned his bridges. The Liverpool fans are very loyal to players as long as you show a bit of loyalty back."