Luis Suarez's signature isn't on the dotted line of an extension just yet, but Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers seems to think an extension agreement is a mere formality.
As Liverpool prepare for their home fixture versus Cardiff on Dec. 21, Rodgers refused to provide any in-depth analysis of the negotiations, per Andy Hunter of The Guardian. But when asked whether he thinks the situation will work itself out, Rodgers replied in the affirmative.
"I've got every confidence that will be the case," Rodgers said. "I speak to all the players and I think they're happy here. Luis and I talk about the present. We speak about the improvements in his game and how he can become better in the future. I don't think there's any doubt he feels he's progressed here as a player."
Liverpool were reported to start negotiations with Suarez's agent, Pere Guardiola, about the possibility of a new deal this week. Suarez has two-and-a-half years remaining on his current deal, which was signed last August. The deal calls for a salary of £120k a week, which puts him among the highest-paid players in the world and represented a massive commitment from management at Anfield at the time.
It's unclear what a new deal would entail, but Suarez's play to start this season will likely lead to another hefty raise. Suarez leads the Premier League with 17 goals, coming in four ahead of second-place Sergio Aguero. Keep in mind that Suarez has also done this despite appearing in only 11 matches.
It's been the type of dazzling individual performance typically associated more with La Liga than the midfield-emphasizing, team-oriented Premier League. Suarez has been instrumental in leading the Reds to a second-place standing in the table heading into this week, with their 33 points coming behind only Arsenal and their plus-21-goal differential second to Manchester City.
This season has represented a stark change for Suarez, who as recently as this summer was perhaps the world's most polarizing player. The Football Association handed down a 10-match ban on the Uruguayan international after biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, a decision that led to Suarez asking for a move away from Anfield.
An intense bidding process lasted almost the entire summer, with it seeming almost certain that Suarez would head elsewhere. But Liverpool were not offered amenable terms from clubs looking to buy low on such a talented player, so they decided to roll the dice and keep him.
Rodgers made clear he has no issues with Suarez's past mistakes:
We all make mistakes but I would hate to think that you would be punished for a lifetime for it. This is a guy that has made a mistake but has shown he is a learner. I know him well enough and think he is a great player, a good man and in Steven's absence and with Daniel Agger out of the team I could not think of anyone better [for the captaincy].
It's safe to say Rodgers' and Liverpool's gamble has paid off. Now, we'll get to see just how much it pays off for Suarez. If Rodgers' words are any indication, one can venture to say it'll pay off quite handsomely.
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