Luis Suarez has given a clear indication of his readiness to abandon attempts to leave Liverpool by returning to first-team training after apologising for claiming the club had reneged on a promise to sell him.
The Uruguayan forward, who said last week that Liverpool had failed to honour an agreement to let him leave Anfield this summer, had been banished from first-team training by manager Brendan Rodgers until he apologised for his actions. But the 26-year-old was pictured training alongside senior team-mates, in apparent good humour, on Friday after clarifying his comments and apologising to Rodgers following his return from midweek international duty in Japan. Having denied reports in Uruguay this week that he had decided to stay at the club because of the backing of the Liverpool fans, a resolution to the stand-off between player and club appeared some distance away.
The hard-line stance of Liverpool owner John W Henry, who rejected the prospect of Suarez signing for Arsenal following two failed bids for the player, emphasised the club's determination not to sell him. But with the transfer window closing on Sept 2, Suarez's decision to back down, enabling Rodgers to restore him to the first-team squad, has significantly lowered the temperature at Anfield and increased the likelihood of the player committing to another season at the club.
Suarez's return to the fold comes just 24 hours after Rodgers had vowed not to allow the saga to "sabotage" Liverpool's season. Rodgers has admitted he is relying on the hunger of his players to ensure Liverpool bridge the financial gap on their rivals and challenge for Champions League qualification. Having finished seventh last season, one place higher than in in 2011-12, Liverpool begin their campaign at home to Stoke City today with Rodgers acknowledging the necessity to restore the five-time European Cup winners to the Champions League as quickly as possible.
Financial restrictions at Anfield are forcing Rodgers to combine player acquisition with sales and wage-bill reduction this summer, but the Northern Irishman said: "The measure for Liverpool will always be the Champions League and the big European competitions but if you start to think about it being unfair, you just anchor yourself. "Excuses won't solve anything. We have got to fight for our life and play with the type of football that can be different, and get players in who are hungry.
Two of the biggest attributes we wanted from players coming in was having the hunger and coming in with that winning mentality. "With the players we have brought in, we have got that, and if we can add a few more, that can really help us. "Calls to improve are what you expect. I can say Manchester City have spent 90 pounds odd million and other teams already in there have got stronger, but that won't help my job here. If you are in those top echelons you can maybe attract another type of player, but I'm not going to bleat and moan about it being unfair." Although Rodgers has spent 25 million pounds on four new signings this summer, seven players have been sold or loaned, with 28 million pounds raised from sales and further savings on wages.
But the Liverpool manager admits the club's brush with administration under previous owners has influenced their philosophy. "Other clubs can just stockpile players and afford to keep them," Rodgers said. "We have had to move some out to get some in. Liverpool has to be a sustainable club and four years ago it almost went into administration. The pressures that come with being the manager of Liverpool are accepted because I am working at a brilliant club."