Player still coming to terms with situation says Reds boss
Brendan Rodgers is convinced Luis Suarez can live up to his billing as a world-class striker for Liverpool FC – once he gets his head around the fact he will not be sold this summer.
Suarez was left behind on Merseyside as Rodgers’s side flew to Dublin ahead of their friendly against Celtic on Saturday evening.
The Uruguayan must train away from the first team until he issues a public apology for questioning the integrity of the club and its manager having been frustrated in his attempts to engineer a move to Arsenal.
And while revealing Suarez has shown some remorse for his actions, Rodgers admits the player is still coming to terms with his situation.
“It has been difficult for him as it has been for everyone but there will come a point when he recognises the club aren’t going to sell,” said the Liverpool manager.
“From what I know of Luis Suarez, once he gets his head around that then when he goes on to the training field and the pitch he gives nothing less than 100%.
“That’s not the point where he is at at the moment. But I have every confidence he will stay beyond the window. Once he is fit and available, once he is playing he will give everything.”
Asked if could make the same impact as last season, Rodgers added: “Absolutely. The door will be open to Luis.
“With his passion and love for football, he is at his happiest when he is playing games or on the training field. I have no question once he is back available for games, we will see a similar impact.
“He is world class. He loves and lives for football. I have no doubt once he crosses the line he will be back to that.
“When the time comes, there’s no doubt Luis will come in and we shall speak.
“Has he shown any remorse? He has. Obviously he is training on his own at the moment and he understands totally where we are coming from. He will continue to do that.”
With Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger accepting Liverpool’s hardline stance means Suarez may now not be heading to the Emirates, Rodgers believes the onus is now on the player to reintegrate himself into the squad.
“We don’t feel we are fighting a losing battle,” he said. “We are quite calm. The club is in control of the situation. Luis has three years left on his contract. He is a player we don’t want to sell.
“But we had to take some action. My job is to protect the welfare of the whole team. At this moment in time, up until a few days ago I thought if we continued along the same route that wouldn’t be the case.
“The training throughout pre-season has been absolutely magnificent. The mentality of the players has been brilliant, they have reclaimed the mentality of last season very quickly. I just couldn’t afford to break that.
“I believe the worst is behind us now.”
Raheem Sterling travelled to Dublin despite spending the previous night behind bars having been charged with assault, while Glen Johnson also made the trip and Daniel Sturridge will be involved in some part for his first appearance in pre-season having suffered an ankle problem while playing for England in May.
“Daniel obviously had a big injury at the end of last season,” said Rodgers. “He's worked very hard to get back training with the group. He looks very strong.
“He's not up to starting the game but he will have some involvement.”
However, both Martin Skrtel and new vice-captain Daniel Agger are still carrying knocks and have not been risked.
Rodgers confirmed he was still looking “to add one or two more players to strengthen the squad”.
But he distanced himself from claims Valencia full-back Aly Cissokho has agreed terms with Liverpool with interest in Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa waning given the player is poised to sign a new contract with the La Liga side.