Exclusive: Selling Luis Suarez to Arsenal - at any price - 'doesn't make sense at all' for Liverpool, claims Steven Gerrard

Captain says Liverpool's season will depend on whether Suarez remains at the club or not

Steven Gerrard has revealed he has told Luis Suarez he should only leave Liverpool for Real Madrid or Barcelona, but that first the Uruguayan striker should experience Champions League football at Anfield rather than compromise with a move to Arsenal.

Outspoken on the subject of Suarez ahead of his testimonial against Olympiakos at Anfield on Saturday, Gerrard told The Independent that he has left his team-mate in no doubt that he should stay at Liverpool. The club have already rejected Arsenal’s £40,000,001 bid for the player who still has six games of his 10-match ban to serve.

Gerrard also admitted that an in-form Suarez could be the difference in Liverpool’s season. “It’s difficult every season to finish in the top-four positions because of the power the likes of Man City, Chelsea and Manchester United have got at the moment,” he said. “The likes of us, Tottenham and Arsenal are fighting to sneak into the other place that’s available.

“Where we sit actually right now, it all depends on what decision Luis Suarez makes in the next few weeks. How difficult it becomes for Liverpool. If we lose him then the challenge becomes even more difficult. It’s that simple.

“If he goes to Arsenal, it obviously makes our season that little bit more difficult. It strengthens them an awful lot and they are our rivals for a top-four position. From the club’s point of view it doesn’t make sense at all, no matter how much money is put on the table.

“He’s the third best player in the world now. I’d put him alongside [Gareth] Bale. You’ve got Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo who are on a different planet, then you’ve got Bale and Suarez.”

When it was put to Gerrard that Suarez’s chief concern was that he wanted to play Champions League football, the Liverpool captain said that it was the same for him. “So do I. If he was to stay around for 12 months and we achieved a top-four finish, there is no better place in the world to play Champions League football than in front of an Anfield crowd.

“You only have to walk around this training ground to see some of the quotes from top players and top managers around the world when they talk about the atmosphere on a Champions League night. For me, surely you want to play Champions League with Liverpool rather than anyone else.

“If he was to go abroad to a Madrid or Barcelona I would totally understand it. He’s a South American. He’s good enough to play in either of those teams. From a family point of view, it’s where they all want to be. Javier Mascherano, Xabi Alonso, some of the top players I’ve played with – their dream was to play for Real or Barcelona.

“If I was him I would wait for one of those two clubs because I think he’s good enough to play for them.”

Suarez is available for Saturday’s game which, although a testimonial and part of a tribute to Gerrard, will be treated as a regular pre-season friendly by manager Brendan Rodgers. “Whether he plays or not will be the manager’s decision,” Gerrard said. “Do I want him to play? Yeah. I think he will get a very good ovation because the fans will want to show him how much they want to keep him. You can understand the frustration because they don’t want to lose a top player. It’s similar to when they didn’t want to lose Fernando Torres. It hurts them a lot. If he does move on to another club everyone connected to the club will be hurt because he’s a top player.”

Gerrard said he had been trying “loads” to convince Suarez to stay since the striker joined the club’s tour of Australia. He said: “Of course I’ve been trying to convince him. We will have to wait and see if I have any joy. It’s a difficult one from a team-mate’s perspective. You have got to show a player respect. Luis is his own guy, makes his own  decisions. But Luis knows what I want him to do, don’t worry about that.”

Saturday’s game, broadcast on BT Sport, will be Liverpool’s only pre-season friendly at Anfield. Gerrard said: “If the manager gets a few more signings in and we manage to keep Luis, that strengthens us an awful lot and gives me confidence that we can compete. Keeping Luis could be our best signing of the summer.”

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam