Luis Suarez contract: Liverpool managing director travels to Barcelona to begin talks with agent over new deal

The newly crowned Football Supporters' Federation Player of the Year will be keen to leave Liverpool if the club cannot regain their Champions League pedigree for 2014-15

Luis Suarez will want to see whether the early promise of this Liverpool season solidifies into a genuine prospect of Champions League football before nailing his colours to the Anfield mast, but the club are wasting no time in beginning the courtship required to keep him. Ian Ayre, the club's managing director, flew to Barcelona to open talks with the Uruguayan's agent Pere Guardiola about a possible new contract.

Any such deal, extending beyond the two and a half years outstanding on his current contract, will make him the highest-paid player in the club's history. But Liverpool may very well have to play the long game, waiting until next spring or beyond before they can secure Europe's standout striker of the season. Nevertheless, there are reasons for optimism.

The inevitable barbs flew thick and fast on social media after Suarez had collected the public vote as Football Supporters' Federation Player of the Year on Monday night. For some, the Patrice Evra incident will never be forgiven and any kind of recognition for him is repugnant. But for those not consumed with hate, there was something deeply gratifying about the tangible sense of contentment in Suarez's eyes about this recognition by fans.

Say what you like about the mercenary aspect which will lead him to agitate to leave again if Liverpool cannot regain their Champions League pedigree for 2014-15, the Uruguayan's eagerness to embrace the FSF's event at the Emirates revealed that he craves plaudits, like so many in that strikers' union of sensitive souls. Suarez arrived early, lingered for two hours, spent half an hour posing for photographs and was willing to take the mischief in the questions put to him after he collected his prize. Useful for him that he'd missed the first five games of the season and been rested before he hit the Premier League season running, it was suggested. He grinned and agreed.

But buried in his interview was a very candid – and accurate – explanation of why he has been so much more of a threat this season. It is because he has no longer had to bear the weight of responsibility alone since Daniel Sturridge's arrival as a 20-goals-a-season striker. "When Liverpool don't play very well it is difficult," Suarez said. "You try your best on the pitch and don't win the game. If Liverpool don't have the players it is difficult and I don't continue at my level. But now they do and they help me."

Suarez did not entirely dismiss the idea of Liverpool winning the Premier League, even though he cautioned against early predictions. "The last four years we have been near the top four and this year it's going to be different. It's too early to say [if we can win the title] yet," he said.

All Liverpool can do while waiting to see if the initial promise of Brendan Rodgers' squad grows into something more permanent is make the right noises – and the 500,000 votes which made him best player, ahead of Robin van Persie, Leighton Baines, Christian Benteke, Juan Mata and Pablo Zabaleta, certainly helped that. The club may seek to press upon Suarez the increasingly prevalent view that he can become the greatest Liverpool player of all if he does stay for the long term.

Martin Tyler, who won the FSF commentator of the year prize, said the choice of Suarez was an "impeccable" one. There are no guarantees with Suarez and also the chance of an unexpected volte-face but he certainly looks like he is with Liverpool in spirit. And considering the place he occupied four months ago, that is certainly something.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US