Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has ruled out the sale of Luis Suarez in the summer, insisting the Uruguayan is pivotal to the Reds’ chances of re-establishing themselves on the European stage.
Suarez, 25, has been rumoured with a move to a club that can offer Champions League football next season as Liverpool struggle to qualify for the Europa League.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has maintained his belief that Suarez is loyal to Liverpool and Ayres claims the striker is a focal point of future plans at Anfield, with the club’s owners striving to return success to Anfield.
“I remember when they bought the team, (owner) John (W. Henry) made a comment in the media: We don’t want to just build a team to win but to keep winning. To do that you have to have a number of world-class players on your team,” Ayre told Sports Illustrated.
“To play at the highest level in the Premier League and European soccer, you need players like Luis and Steven Gerrard on your team. So the last thing in our mind is selling Luis Suarez. He’s not for sale. It’s not something we’re interested in.”
The impact of Suarez – who is the leading scorer in the Premier League with 22 goals – and January recruits Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge has given Liverpool hope of returning to the Champions League in the coming years.
Despite questions being raised about the amount of money spent to recruit Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen in recent seasons, Ayre believes a shift in scouting methods has benefited the Reds.
“We were very pleased with the most recent window in January with Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge,” Ayre added. “It’s a combination of skills and people and processes that bring us to what we’re trying to achieve.
“I think the fundamental shift particularly around player acquisitions and disposals was that we took the view that it needs to be more of a science. Your biggest expenditure line can’t be the whim of any individual.
“It’s a combination of old-school scouting and watching players – and that’s Brendan [Rodgers], his assistants, our scouts – with statistical analysis of players across Europe and the rest of the world.
“I think we’ve had relatively good success since we deployed that methodology. We’re getting better all the time. Just as you think our football is getting better, our transfer activity is getting better.”