Belfast Telegraph

Suarez seeking friendly resolution

Wantaway Liverpool striker Luis Suarez still hopes to come to a "friendly" resolution with the club over his transfer saga despite incurring the wrath of manager Brendan Rodgers.

The Reds boss is unhappy with the attitude shown by the Uruguay international - who seems intent on forcing a move to Arsenal - in recent weeks and has been told to train on his own.

Rodgers rejected Suarez's claim he had reneged on an agreement last summer which would allow the player to leave for a Champions League club, saying interviews given by the 26-year-old suggesting as much showed "total disrespect" to the club.

However, Suarez remains determined to find a way out of Anfield and admits even captain Steven Gerrard's pleas for him to stay cannot offset the lure of the Champions League, while also reiterating he would jump at the chance to go to Real Madrid.

"I'm still defending the Liverpool shirt and I will do so until the last minute," Suarez, who was left at home for Wednesday night's friendly against Valerenga in Norway because of injury and is unlikely to feature against Celtic in Dublin on Saturday, told Spanish newspaper Marca.

"My aim is to reach an agreement with the club in a friendly manner and I hope the clause we agreed a year ago is fulfilled. Up to now, it hasn't been.

"It's not that I want to or am desperate to leave, but I like things to be clear and a year ago I made my position to the club clear.

"Gerrard has a lot of history with Liverpool and his words are very important but everyone should understand that I need to play the Champions League to keep growing as a footballer.

"Now I have the chance, I want to take it. A Champions League team (Arsenal) is making a big effort to get me and one always wants to be where they feel comfortable.

"There were a lot of rumours (about Real) that were different to reality: Madrid never called me personally or Liverpool to try and negotiate.

"Every player aspires to reach the top and Real Madrid is among the most important clubs in the world. It would be very difficult to say no to Real Madrid."

Asked where he would choose to go were it up to him Suarez, who earlier in the summer complained about his treatment by the British press, added: "I would decide what's best for my private life and my family."

Suarez maintains he has an agreement with Liverpool which, following their failure to qualify for the Champions League, allows him to leave if any club bids £40million.

Arsenal tested that theory with an offer which exceeded the figure by a pound but it was rejected by the Merseysiders who insists they have no obligation to sell at that price, only open negotiations.

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, told Press Association Sport he did not believe there was a "cast-iron" buy-out clause and as he understood the situation Liverpool were not under any obligation to sell.

Suarez thinks differently however.

"We (Suarez and his agents) had an offer from a Champions League team, we considered the situation and decided that, as a new coach (Rodgers) was coming, and the club was making a big effort to get into Europe, we should renew my contract with a new clause: if we didn't get into the Champions League I could leave if there was an offer of over £40 million," he told Marca.

"I don't feel that (these are his last days at the club). I'm still enjoying being at Liverpool and the moments I'm experiencing with this club.

"I'll remember the day of my debut, and that I came here from Ajax with great expectations and then played some unforgettable games."

On his last two public appearances - Gerrard's testimonial on Saturday and an open training session on Monday - Suarez was cheered by fans.

That appreciation will not repeated in the wake of Wednesday's developments despite the player's protestations of praise for the support he has received during a turbulent time at the club in which he was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra and received a 10-game suspension - six of which are still outstanding - for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

"The Liverpool fans are incredible. I'm very grateful for their support," he said. "I'm very proud to feel their love and it demonstrates that I'm doing a good job."

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has backed Rodgers' stance over Suarez.

"I think it's probably right for Brendan Rodgers to take him out of the group," Carragher, who retired at the end of last season after more than two decades with Reds, told Sky Sports News.

"No one player is bigger than the squad, and he's not actually going to be playing because he's banned, so Liverpool need to concentrate on getting right for that first game of the season against Stoke.

"And if Suarez is a distraction for everyone he needs to be taken out of the group."

The 35-year-old also believes Liverpool might be more willing to let the former Ajax forward leave Anfield if it was not to one of their main domestic rivals.

"Arsenal are a big rival for a top-four place," he added.

"Maybe if he wanted to go somewhere else it wouldn't be such a big issue and maybe Liverpool would sanction a deal because nobody wants unhappy players at the training ground, on the affects other people. But it's very difficult for Liverpool."

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