Transfer news: Steve McManaman understands why Luis Suarez would be lured to Real Madrid, but insists Champions League return could keep him at Liverpool

McManaman expects Suarez to feature in the Reds' FA Cup fourth round tie with Bournemouth but accepts it's the Champions League that will keep him at Anfield

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Steve McManaman has admitted that the lure of playing for the biggest club in the world could lead to Luis Suarez heading the Spanish capital, and feels that the Reds’ hopes of keeping hold of their prized asset lies with their Champions League return.

Brendan Rodgers has seen his side record a solid first half of the season, with the Merseyside club currently enjoying the heights of fourth in the Premier League after a prolonged absence. A return to Europe’s elite competition would be a just reward for Rodgers, who has got his side playing an attractive, attacking form of football based around the strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

McManaman will be a part of BT Sport’s live coverage of the FA Cup fourth round this weekend, as the Premier League takes a brief hiatus before resuming with a full card of fixtures next week.

While McManaman remains one of the most high profile Bosman signings in football history when he left Anfield for pastures new at the Santiago Bernabeu, Suarez would likely attract a mammoth – if not world record – offer to take him to Madrid, with the La Liga club believed to be interested in his services.

And speaking to The Independent, McManaman admitted that for anyone, and South Americans in particular, the ambition to play for one of the best sides in the world is hard to turn down.

“For South American players, the appeal is always to play for the big teams in Spain,” said McManaman, who spent four successful seasons in Madrid before returning to England. “I think that’s normal – anybody from Argentina, Colombia, Brazil – they all want to play in Europe but principally in Spain.

Steve McManaman now works as a football analyst for BT Sport Steve McManaman now works as a football analyst for BT Sport  

“They speak the language, they can move with their families and settle in. I think that’s what the lure is, and I think nowadays the lure of Real Madrid is because they’re the biggest team in the world. They’re arguably the most glamorous side in the world alongside Barcelona so I can understand the lure of those teams.”

The former England international took little time to settle in to life at his new club, creating the assist for the winning goal on his debut before recording his first in the next match. Despite some players needing time to adjust, McManaman believes that Suarez would feel comfortable quickly with life as a ‘Galactico’.

“Speaking for the Latin Americans, it’s a lot easier to adapt and a lot easier to settle (in Spain) than it is elsewhere,” he claimed. “Admittedly Luis Suarez has been playing in Europe and has been playing in Holland and now England and he speaks the language, so he has adapted to the lifestyle on this side very well.

“But for him personally, it’s probably going to be all results driven if Liverpool finish in the Champions League spots. It’s easy to say that they’ll play in the Champions League but if they don’t, like for any other team these days, being in the Champions League is a bigger lure than anything else. 

“I think that is what will happen, as whoever doesn’t finish in the Champions League this year, whether it be Liverpool or Tottenham or anyone else, a lot of their players will be looking around.”

Suarez could be given a rare rest by Rodgers following the return to fitness of Sturridge, but McManaman feels that the player would actually benefit from playing this weekend when the Reds take on Bournemouth at the Goldsands Stadium

Asked whether he thinks Suarez will feature, McManaman said: “I do actually. I expect Luis Suarez to start. It is a chance for a rest but if there’s any players out there who don’t necessarily need a rest and can keep on playing, it’s Luis Suarez.

Sturridge could start against Bournemouth after making his return from injury this month Sturridge could start against Bournemouth after making his return from injury this month  

“Yes they could easily give him a rest because Daniel Sturridge has been out for a while and he could do with the playing time, but I think if Luis is down there and travels with the team, which I expect him to do, he might as well be playing than sat on the bench.

“He’s one of those players that wants to play and wants to score goals and wants to score as many goals as he possibly can. I fully understand if he is rested but I think he’ll play.”

Liverpool fans will be hoping the Uruguayan maintains his rich vein of scoring, with the aim of firing them to a top four return top of the agenda at Anfield. An FA Cup triumph would be a bonus, and a welcome one at that, but hopes of keeping Suarez long-term must lie with a return to the Champions League.

McManaman will be a part of BT Sport’s live FA Cup coverage this weekend, which kicks-off on Friday with Arsenal v Coventry City at 19.45, with the action continuing on Saturday as Everton travel to Steveange at 17.30 before wrapping things up on Sunday with Sheffield United v Fulham at 13.00.

BT Sport will be showing up to 25 live games including the final from this season's FA Cup with Budweiser. BT Sport is free with BT broadband, to find out more visit www.btsport.com

 

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

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable