Whether it's trying to convince the player, the supporters, or just themselves, Liverpool have started the effort in full to ensure that Luis Suarez will remain on Merseyside beyond this season.
As something resembling a quote from Bild floated around the internet earlier this week, there was palpable anxiety about the potential for Luis Suarez to head to Bayern in the summer transfer window. The Uruguayan was supposed to have expressed an openness to a transfer, or at least listening to an offer for one, from the current Bundesliga front-runners, but without any concrete sources to which the story could be attributed, it was rightly written off as little more than a somewhat twisted version of comments the striker had made earlier this season.
Regardless of the veracity of this particular story, it tapped into the larger concern that Luis Suarez very well could leave Liverpool in the not-so distant future, and perhaps even more worryingly, that the club can't make a very compelling case for him to stay. Out of the Europa League and on the outside looking in at the European places in the Premier League, there's seemingly little to do other than promise better days ahead and tap into any sentimentality that Suarez might have for the club.
Which is essentially what they've started to do in earnest. It didn't necessarily start with Steven Gerrard's appearance on Goals on Sunday, but that was one of the more notable instances since 2013 began of someone lobbying for Suarez to stick around, and since then we've heard plenty of talk from Brendan Rodgers about the striker's future, with Lucas chipping in to do his part earlier this week.
Yesterday Rodgers was at it again, and today the club has gone even further on the offensive, highlighting comments from both the manager and the player himself regarding his future at Liverpool:
From Rodgers--"I've made him sort of my architect within the group and he and I communicate a lot so I get a feeling. It is not like I don't talk to him. Is he deserving of that Champions League level? Of course he is but I would be confident enough he will be here because he is enjoying his football. I was talking about the future and development and he was reciprocal in his conversation that he is loving it here."
From Suarez--"I always say the same thing, every kid or young player growing up dreams of playing here at Liverpool, and today, here I am, highly privileged doing just that. I enjoy every minute to the maximum because it's a great opportunity that my life has presented me and for which I am very pleased. I'm here at a club where I always wanted to be and where I always wanted to play, and for that I'm extremely happy."
It's an unfortunate reality that we're left to hope that their words can be taken as truth, but in a business where a contract isn't exactly as binding as you'd expect, that's about all that can be done. For now we know that both club and player are content with one another; circumstances can change on both ends, of course, especially if an offer floats in that's tempting from a business or playing standpoint.
I have been and continue to be of the mindset that Luis Suarez will be with Liverpool for at least one more season--a proper partner in attack has finally been brought in, the club's promised to strengthen further in the summer, and if progress is truly made over the next calendar year, they can expect to be challenging for a Champions League spot once again. If that fails to be the case, though, I don't know that anyone would begrudge Suarez for opting to move a place where that's assured.
Sentimentality and happiness are nice enough, and to have all parties on the same page is encouraging enough. But there's a point at which they aren't going to be enough to sustain a squad that can reach the heights to which Liverpool aspire, regardless of how much someone might be smiling in the sunshine.