ANFIELD — Luis Suarez has been given a triple-your-money pay-rise by Liverpool, as they look toward a Champions League future.
The Uruguay striker has signed a new four-year contract that has taken his salary from a relatively modest £40 000-a-week and put him on a par with the club’s highest earners, such as skipper Steven Gerrard.
And after committing his future to Anfield, despite interest from clubs such as Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, who can offer top-tier European football, both Suarez and his new manager Brendan Rodgers insisted the deal was proof of Liverpool’s intent to return to the club game’s top table.
“The new contract with Liverpool is unbelievable for me. I am so happy here with the club and in the city,” Suarez explained.
“I hope to play for many years here. This is a great team and everyone around the world knows Liverpool. I know what the manager wants. I spoke with him last week and he spoke fantastic. He wants to play with the ball all the time and that is very important.
“I have signed because we hope for the best position. Every year Liverpool have been looking at the Champions League and that is what we aim at now.”
Rodgers is pleased to have fended off the attentions of such big clubs — and relieved to have secured the services of a genuine world star as he looks to take the club forward after succeeding the sacked Kenny Dalglish.
The Suarez deal is part of Rodgers’ plan to change things around at Anfield — getting rid of fringe players who are on massive money and instead paying the big wages to true match-winners who can power Liverpool back into the Premier League’s top four.
Suarez comes into that category and, having refused to be forced into paying over the odds for players who are not at that level, Rodgers knows it is vital to keep stars like the Uruguayan and Gerrard.
“The conversations we had were about selling him the dream going forward, telling him how important he is for me as a player,” the former Swansea manager explained.
“It was big for me coming into the club. We are not in the Champions League and those types of players want to upgrade to that level.
The 25-year-old’s initial contract, signed following his reported £22,8 million move from Ajax in January 2011, was due to expire in 2016.
In one-and-a-half seasons at Liverpool, Suarez has made 52 appearances and scored 21 goals.