Liverpool striker Luis Suarez will have to apologise to his team-mates and the club before he can be reintegrated into the squad, according to manager Brendan Rodgers.
The Uruguay international has been made to train on his own as Rodgers was unhappy with the attitude he has shown recently, which culminated with interviews earlier this week in which he claimed the club had reneged on a deal to allow him to leave this summer.
That upset Rodgers and he has isolated the 26-year-old, who owner John Henry has said will not be sold to Arsenal despite the Gunners’ bid of £40,000,001.
Suarez is suspended for the first six matches of the season as his ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic is carried over but, even if he does not leave in the current transfer window, there are still bridges to be rebuilt.
“Initially there will be a recognition that [there needs to be] an apology to his team-mates and the club,” said Rodgers when asked what Suarez needed to do next.
“I have seen him over a period of time I know it is not the Luis Suarez we know and I have to protect the fans and the players because they deserve more than that.
“He has spent some days working on his own. The group has been separate to that and working very hard. When he is back from his international trip [Suarez will travel to Japan with Uruguay in midweek] we will assess it from there.”
Rodgers added: “He is a world-class striker and, when he is committed the cause, we will welcome him back with open arms.”
Henry and Rodgers have been unequivocal in their stance on Suarez and the manager stressed that would not change.
“I spoke with John when we were in Norway in the week and we are pretty much on the same page,” he added. “We are adamant he won’t go to Arsenal and we want to keep him.”
With the number of chances Liverpool missed in their 1-0 defeat to Celtic in Dublin last night they can ill-afford to lose someone of Suarez’s calibre.
Rodgers was speaking after Liverpool owner Henry had earlier told Arsenal to give up in their pursuit of Luis Suarez.
The Gunners’ bid of a pound over £40 million was made in the belief it would trigger a buy-out clause if it came from a club in the Champions League. But Liverpool have refuted that claim.