Brendan Rodgers was asked about Luis Suarez after Steven Gerrard's testimonial match, because of bloody course he was. It's not like there was something else to talk about, was there? This time, though, Rodgers came out firing from the hip on the matter.
He stated unequivocally that money in the territory of what Tottenham is demanding for Gareth Bale (in the neighborhood of £100 million) is what it would take to pry Suarez out of Liverpool's hands. It's hard to argue with that valuation of Suarez's talents; Bale and Suarez were unquestionably the two best players in the league last season, so Liverpool keeping their asking price in the region that Daniel Levy is wanting for his Welsh star is a reasonable tactic to take.
He also lashed out at Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger over the now-infamous £40-million-plus-one bid that the Gunners lodged last week:
"I was surprised," said the Liverpool manager of Arsenal's second bid for Suárez. "I've got to say I've always associated Arsenal as a club with class and so there was a wee bit of a game there. For us, it's about moving on and doing our own work. There will come a point where they understand our position. Obviously they have an interest and they put that interest in with two bids which were nowhere near what the player is worth. That's within their right. There is a market in football for players but from us the message is constant. We do not want to sell."
- Source: Guardian
There's definitely a tension forming between the two clubs, with Arsenal apparently believing that they've triggered a release clause in Suarez's contract, and Liverpool insisting that they have not. Wenger, for his part, has insisted that Arsenal have not done anything wrong in their approach for the Uruguayan striker.
Frankly, Rodgers' statement on the matter rings much truer than Wenger's. The cheekiness of Arsenal's most recent bid cannot be measured in any sort of modern science, and it can only be described as gamesmanship of the highest order. While Arsenal may technically not have done anything wrong, they're clearly making an effort to stir the pot at Anfield and force Liverpool's hand in the matter. It's good to see Rodgers not blinking in the face of this farce.
Rodgers did say that if a club were to meet Liverpool's evaluation of Suarez, they would allow him to leave if he desired. This comes in the wake of what some saw as a petulant display during the Testimonial when Suarez seemingly refused to acknowledge the Anfield faithful, and then skipped out on the celebratory dinner in Gerrard's honor afterwards.
A gauntlet has most definitely been thrown in this matter. Now, we wait for the next act in the drama to unfold.