Be­cause of Liver­pool fans, Suarez ex­tends his An­field stay

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

STRIKER Luis Suarez has en­sured there will be no Jan­uary re­peat of the trans­fer wran­gling that dogged him in the close sea­son by sign­ing a new long-term con­tract with Pre­mier League side Liver­pool.

Suarez, who has scored 17 goals in a blis­ter­ing start to the cam­paign, thanked the fans – and cited their sup­port since he re­turned to ac­tion fol­low­ing a 10-game ban for bit­ing – as a key fac­tor in his de­ci­sion.

“I am de­lighted to have agreed a new deal with Liver­pool and have my fu­ture se­cured for the long term,” said the Uruguayan, who was named cap­tain for the 5-0 win over Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur last weekend.

“With­out doubt, the back­ing I have re­ceived from the Liver­pool fans has in­flu­enced my de­ci­sion.

“I am so proud to rep­re­sent them and go out to do my best for them ev­ery time I pull on the shirt.

“We have a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship; they have love for me and in re­turn I love them back.

“I will al­ways do my best for them and hope­fully we can achieve suc­cess to­gether.”

The deal is re­ported to be 4½ years and worth £200 000 per week to Suarez over the fi­nal four years of the con­tract and £160 000 per week un­til the end of this sea­son.

The 26-year-old was linked with a move away from the club this year and Pre­mier League ri­vals Arse­nal tested Liver­pool’s re­solve with a bid in ex­cess of £40 mil­lion.

Span­ish gi­ants Real Madrid were also said to be cir­cling and, ac­cord­ing to Bri­tish me­dia re­ports at the time, were Suarez’s first choice if he left Liver­pool.

Liver­pool’s de­ci­sion to dig their heels in, and pre­vent Suarez leav­ing, has reaped rich re­wards, with the Uruguayan top­ping the scor­ing charts and help­ing pro­pel the Merseysiders to sec­ond on the English Premier­ship ta­ble.

His abil­ity to con­jure mo­ments of in­di­vid­ual bril­liance and sin­gle-hand­edly pick apart the op­po­si­tion have made him an in­dis­pens­able pres­ence in man­ager Bren­dan Rodgers’ Liver­pool team.

“Luis is a world-class tal­ent and se­cur­ing his ser­vices is cru­cial for what we are try­ing to achieve here,” Rodgers said.

“What’s most im­por­tant and most ex­cit­ing is that, at just 26 years old, his best years are still ahead of him and we now know we’ll be see­ing him reach that po­ten­tial in a Liver­pool shirt.”

Suarez’s re­cent dis­plays have had fans drool­ing in ad­mi­ra­tion.

Four goals against Nor­wich City and two against both West Ham United and Tot­ten­ham in the Reds’ last three games mean he has the best strike rate of any player across Europe’s ma­jor leagues.

His per­for­mances are all the more no­table given the way he fin­ished the last cam­paign, hav­ing been banned for bit­ing Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April.

Liver­pool’s prin­ci­pal owner John Henry said it was a sign of the di­rec­tion the club was head­ing in.

“We are com­mit­ted to work­ing hard to keep our best play­ers and this is an in­di­ca­tion that we are mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion and mov­ing at a pace that im­presses one of the best play­ers in world foot­ball,” he said – Reuters

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