- Premier League
Suarez denies saying he'll stay at Reds
Luis Suarez has denied a report on Wednesday saying that he has abandoned his attempt to engineer a transfer to Arsenal from Liverpool.
With Arsenal continuing to pursue Suarez, he had been quoted as saying in an interview with Uruguayan newspaper El Observador that he was now happy to stay with Liverpool.
But speaking in Tokyo after inspiring Uruguay to a 4-2 friendly win over Japan with a goal and two assists, Suarez denied that he has changed his mind over plans to quit Anfield.
"I didn't say that, maybe someone else did and the main thing is that I am here now with the national team," Japan's Kyodo News quoted Suarez as saying.
Suarez had earlier been reported as telling El Observador that the support of Liverpool's fans had won him round, saying: "For now, due to all of the people's affection (for me), I will be staying."
Those comments came after Uruguayan television and radio journalist Martin Charquero claimed on Twitter that Suarez had told him he would not be leaving.
The journalist, who is understood to be close to the striker, also hinted that Suarez would sign a contract to extend his commitment to the club beyond 2016, when his current deal expires.
Charquero tweeted: "Luis Suarez confirms to me that he will not leave Liverpool. The support of the fans in recent weeks influenced his decision."
ATENCIÓN. Luis Suárez me confirma que no se ira de Liverpool. El apoyo de los hinchas en las últimas semanas influyeron en la decision.— Martin Charquero (@MartinCharquero) August 13, 2013
He then added: "Suarez sees it as likely that he'll sign a renewal (extension) to the contract that binds him to Liverpool."
Luis Suárez ve como probable una renovación (extension) del contrato que lo une a Liverpool.— Martin Charquero (@MartinCharquero) August 13, 2013
Some observers had treated those comments with caution, given that Charquero stated on Twitter three weeks ago that Suarez was "very close" to joining Arsenal - but that tweet was believed to reflect the way the striker himself felt at the time.
Suarez, who signed a four-year contract with Liverpool last summer, has given a number of interviews insisting that he wants a transfer since first declaring publicly his wish to leave Anfield at the end of May.
He said at the time that it "would be hard to say no" to Real Madrid, but the Spanish giants have made no move to sign him.
So far, the only confirmed interest has come from Arsenal, who have had two bids for the 26-year-old rejected.
The second of those bids - an offer of £40,000,001 on July 23 - was apparently made in the belief that it would trigger a release clause in Suarez's contract.
Liverpool, though, insist there is no such clause, and that they are only obliged to inform him of any offers of above £40 million.
Suarez disputed this in interviews with the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and Marca at the beginning of August, claiming that manager Brendan Rodgers has personally assured him in the summer of 2012 that he could leave if Liverpool failed to qualify for the 2013-14 Champions League.
Rodgers has dismissed that claim, while principal owner John W Henry said last week that there was no way Suarez would be sold to Arsenal, suggesting the idea was "ludicrous".
The striker, signed from Ajax for £22.8 million in January 2011, has been ordered to train alone for the last week, with Rodgers admitting to concerns about his attitude.
Rodgers declared on Saturday that Suarez will not be allowed to rejoin first-team training until he apologises for his behaviour in trying to force a move. The Uruguay international has so far refused to say sorry.
Even if Suarez stays, he will miss Liverpool's first six competitive matches of the season as he completes a 10-game domestic ban imposed after he bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a Premier League fixture in April.
He would be able to make his Premier League return against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on September 29, and would also be able to play a few days earlier in the Capital One Cup third round should Liverpool reach that stage by beating League One side Notts County at Anfield on August 27.