Brace yourselves, fellow Reds: if the reports are accurate — and for the sake of argument we'll assume they are because it's silly season — Liverpool are throwing down the gauntlet in an attempt to end the Luis Suarez drama before they leave on their tour of the Pacific Rim next month. As reported by both the Daily Mail and the Mirror, this particular development may require more grains of salt than found in your average witches' circle, but both outlets have Liverpool telling the loquacious striker to put his money where his mouth is and submit a written transfer request if he truly wants to move on this summer.
It's a bold move by management who are clearly fed up with every PR nightmare sound bite emerging from Brazil. So long as Uruguay stays in the Confederations Cup, the odds of Suarez continuing his awkward, press-based courtship of Real Madrid remain annoyingly high. Liverpool have been very clear since the Ivanovic incident that Suarez is not for sale, but at this point it seems that the problems that come with keeping a deeply unsettled player now outweigh the club's desire to keep Suarez at all costs.
At the very least, the ultimatum demonstrates that Liverpool have learned from past mistakes. After following through on the promise to get much transfer activity completed early on, the club are avoiding a repeat of both the Fernando Torres and, ironically, Andy Carroll moves that took place last minute and left the club with little time to get reasonably priced or proper reinforcements.
For Suarez's part, making his intentions official by handing in a transfer request may still not have the desired effect. Real Madrid have still made no offer, with all of the talk of a transfer coming from Suarez's not-so-subtle come ons that every young footballer dreams of playing for Los Blancos. Suarez's other possible destinations — Juventus and Bayern Munich amongst them — have made even less noise than Real Madrid, if that's possible, with those clubs entering the mix largely through idle speculation as to how the Great Striker Shift will shake down across the various European leagues.
Where this leaves Suarez if no one bites at his transfer requests remains to be seen. For a fan base for whom loyalty is of paramount importance, a formal request without an actual move could be very damaging for Suarez and how he'd be received at Anfield next season. Of course, it's entirely possible that Suarez is loved enough that he wouldn't be the first player to suffer a transfer paroxysm only to come out relatively unscathed on the other side, as Wayne Rooney could probably tell him.
This saga hasn't yet reached the level of a Cold War era staring contest, but for those wishing for Liverpool to make some daring moves this transfer window, the combined effect of taking this hard line on Suarez and the potential signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan surely sets this up to be the most interesting summer of the past few seasons. Your move, El Pistolero.