Reds’ angry manager denies promising wantaway striker a transfer as chairman Henry insists he’ll NEVER sell him to Arsenal
Luis Suarez has been banished to the Liverpool FC wilderness for what his furious boss Brendan Rodgers has branded “a total lack of respect”, writes David Maddock in Oslo.
The disgraced striker will be forced to train on his own after his astonishing outburst – cynically designed to engineer a move away from Liverpool – provoked the wrath of his manager and the club’s owners.
Feelings are running so high at the Anfield giants that it is understood chairman John Henry has vowed ‘never to sell Suarez to Arsenal’.
The South American has accused Rodgers of “lying”, but the Reds manager insisted he is so angry not because of the personal attack, but because Suarez has shown so little respect to the club and to his team-mates, both with his comments and with his attitude.
And now, even though Arsenal, who have controversially offered £40m plus one pound, will be told to forget any prospect of a deal after the saga’s latest twist, the only way the controversial striker will play for Liverpool again is if he makes a public apology.
“I will take strong, decisive action, absolutely. There has been total disrespect of the club – this is a lack of respect of a club that has given him everything. Absolutely everything,” Rodgers insisted after a friendly win over Valerenga here in Norway.
“There were no promises made – categorically none – and no promises broken. Obviously, the remarks I’ve read, it is bitterly disappointing – but my job is bigger than that. My job is to fight and protect the club.
“We have a standard at Liverpool and I will fight for my life to retain it. The Liverpool Way is all about being committed to the cause and fighting for the shirt. It’s also about dignity and being dignified in how you speak about the club. And it’s about unity.
“If anyone steps outside of those values then I have to deal with it.”
The Reds boss believes his controversial forward has now forfeited the right to train with the first team after showing such disdain for the squad, and such an apparent indifference to the needs of his team-mates.
There has been real anger within the squad in recent days, largely because of the unsettling effect the whole situation has had on the build up to the season, and the way Suarez has acted in training and even in pre-season matches.
The player hardly helped himself with his team-mates when he failed to show for Steven Gerrard’s testimonial dinner, and Rodgers explained that the Uruguayan will now have to show remorse to the rest of the players to find a way back.
“Is there a way back? We first of all need to assess where it’s at at this moment things have been said that are derogatory against the football club and his team-mates and the supporters,” he added.
“There’s a few bridges to cross before that can happen (play for LFC again). It’s about the respect, that’s the only thing we look for. This is one of the most iconic football clubs in the world, you can’t disrespect it.
“That’s something I will ensure before anything happens in the future. That bridge will need to be crossed.”
Henry and his fellow owner Tom Werner have backed Rodgers’ stance to the hilt, and privately they have indicated they are furious with the player… and determined to stop him forcing a move to Arsenal.
Liverpool are supremely confident there is no clause in his contract allowing him to leave – a view corroborated by PFA chief Gordon Taylor on Wednesday – and if Suarez is to be sold, then it will have to be to another club.
Rodgers though, insisted he has no need to sell, despite the player’s comments:
“The reality is we don’t want to sell Luis Suarez, it’s as simple as that. He is important for what we are trying to do. There have been a couple of offers but no promises broken – that’s the reality.
“I don’t believe there is a clause in his contract that says he can leave for any sort of price.
“I will deal with it.
“We can understand if he wants to play in the Champions League – but that doesn’t mean we’ve broken any promise.
“What we are trying to do now is get the correct value for a player, but we know we don’t have to sell him.”
Rodgers also dismissed suggestions Barcelona have made a bid for defender Daniel Agger, and the club insisted there have been no offers for the Dane from any team.