Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has urged fans to support Luis Suarez but insists the Uruguayan's decisions this summer must be respected, even if he leaves Anfield.
The 26-year-old remains constantly linked with a move away from the red half of Merseyside since announcing his decision to leave the club after growing disillusioned with life in England, citing the vilification he feels from the British press as a key reason behind his decision.
Liverpool have been resolute in their efforts to hold onto Suarez so far, having already rejected an offer from Arsenal for their prized forward. But the Gunners and Real Madrid appear to have not given up hope of getting their man.
Speaking from Liverpool's tour of Australia, Gerrard pleaded for understanding to be shown towards the Uruguay international, whatever decision is taken regarding his future this summer.
"He's a good friend of mine, I've enjoyed every minute of playing with him, we love him to bits and of course we all want him to stay at the football club," Gerrard is quoted as saying by Australian outlet ABC News.
"But we also have to show him respect. He's got his own decisions to make in life and we'll have to wait and see what he decides to do.
"All we can do is show him the love, keep making sure he feels very welcome and hopefully that's enough to persuade him to stay, because I think outside of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, there's no better footballer on the planet."
Arsenal saw their opening offer of £30m for Suarez immediately rejected by Liverpool, and while Brendan Rodgers has suggested that every player has his price tag, the Northern Irish manager maintains the Gunners have come nowhere near meeting it.
Despite swirling speculation surrounding his future, Suarez has linked up with his teammates in Australia for the club's pre-season tour and could feature in their game against Melbourne Victory on Wednesday. It is the first time the forward has been back amongst club personnel since making his intentions to leave the club public.
Arsenal are expected to increase their bid for Suarez in the coming weeks, with a bid of £40m reportedly enough to trigger a clause whereby the player must be informed of the offer.
But Rodgers remains resolute in his desire to retain the club's top scorer from last season. "Do I expect him to stay? Very much so," Rodgers said.
"A lot has been said in the off season, but the reality is that he is very much a player of importance.
"Every player has a value and a worth, but it doesn't mean we are going to sell him."
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