Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes striker Luis Suarez owes a debt of loyalty to the fans after they – and the club – stood by him during difficult times.
The Uruguay international has been banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and then ten games for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during his time at the Anfield club.
Even though his actions were condemned by the supporters, they have given nothing but their 100 per cent backing and Rodgers believes the striker should consider that as he ponders manufacturing a move away this summer.
The club rejected a second bid from Arsenal, worth a total of £40 million plus £1 on Wednesday, but it appears the saga will rumble on for some time.
“There’s no doubt the market nowadays is very small and Luis will always be linked with top clubs,” Rodgers said.
“But I think the support he’s received from the supporters and the people of the city of Liverpool has been unrivalled.
“In the period of time he’s missed a lot of games for various reasons and the people have stood by him like a son and really looked after him.
“So I’m sure that whatever happens in the coming weeks that will be on his mind because it’s certainly something you can never forget.”
The sum of Arsenal’s bid met the requirements of a clause in Suarez’s contract which said the club had to inform the player if an offer of over £40million was made.
Suarez and his representatives may yet argue that they are now in a position to negotiate with the Gunners but Liverpool will reject that assumption.
However, the player’s agent, Pere Guardiola, told Liverpool earlier this month that Suarez wants to play Champions League football this season and as such the prospects of Rodgers being able to hold onto the 26-year-old appear slim.
Rodgers and managing director Ian Ayre will hold further discussions with Suarez as the club’s pre-season tour moves to Thailand ahead of the third and final match of the trip in Bangkok on Sunday.
Liverpool owner John Henry appears to have no intention of selling to Arsenal – or anyone else – on the cheap, if indeed at all. The American, the principal figure in Fenway Sports Group, rejected the Gunners’ offer in flippant fashion in a single dismissive tweet.
His “What do you think they are smoking over there at Emirates” message was written on his Twitter account just after 2am local time in Boston.
While it may seem out of character – club officials have not been able to verify it was sent by Henry himself – it undoubtedly reflects the stance of the club, who insist Suarez is not for sale and even if he was he is valued at much more.
It is understood that when Arsenal made an initial offer of £30 million over a fortnight ago they were told by Liverpool then that they would not entertain selling their prize asset even for £40 million.
The Londoners’ response seems designed to test their resilience and the player’s desire to force through a move.
Meanwhile, former Liverpool striker John Aldridge has accused Suarez of a “massive lack of loyalty” in declaring his desire to leave the club.
Aldridge, who scored 63 goals in 104 games for Liverpool, said Suarez owed a debt of gratitude to the club for sticking by him after his racism and biting controversies. He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “There’s a massive lack of loyalty there and especially the way Liverpool have stuck by Luis. Not everything’s all about money.
“It’s different with Luis Suarez because of the positions he’s put Liverpool in over the last couple of years and they’ve stuck by him.
“The fans have been loyal, the manager’s been loyal, his comrades have been loyal, and the hierarchy have been loyal to him.
“They have done everything in their powers possible to back him up and he’s basically put a custard pie in everyone’s face.”