GUARDIAN – Football: Luis Suarez makes cameo as Liverpool beat Thailand

Luis Suarez came on as a second half substitute as Liverpool wrapped up their pre-season tour of Asia and AustraliaLuis Suarez appeared off the bench as Liverpool wrapped up their pre-season tour with a comfortable 3-0 victory over the Thailand national team in Bangkok.Philippe Coutinho, new signing Iago Aspas and captain Steven Gerrard were all on target in a comfortable victory, but it was the presence of striker Suarez, the subject of continuing speculation over his future after two rejected bids from Arsenal, which will grab most attention.The Uruguay international came on for the last 29 minutes and hit the crossbar. It was his second successive substitute appearance on the tour having linked up with the squad late due to an extended break after the Confederations Cup.Coutinho opened the scoring after 11 minutes before setting up Aspas soon after the break. Gerrard added the third with a neat dink over the goalkeeper after 59 minutes. Gerrard also hit the woodwork while Jordan Henderson had an effort cleared off the line.Thailand: Hathairattanakool, Butmathan, Sokam, Daosawang, Wannasri, Lasoh, Anan, Songkrasin, Kraisorn, Wongsa, Dangda.Subs: Boonyong, Weerawattanodom, Chutong, Inpinit, Masuk, Notechaiya, Pathomattakul, Prempak, Puangchan, Skollah, Thaweekarn, Chappuis, Buathong.Liverpool: Mignolet, Jose Enrique, Agger, Toure, Johnson, Lucas, Allen, Gerrard, Coutinho, Aspas, Borini.Subs: Brad Jones, Skrtel, Kelly, Flanagan, Suarez, Spearing, Wisdom, Robinson, Henderson, Alberto, Downing, Sterling, Ibe, Coates, Assaidi, Ward.Liverpool© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions

GUARDIAN – Luis Suárez is not for sale, insists Liverpool chief Ian Ayre

• ‘It’s never been our intention to sell Luis’• Suárez expected to face Thai national team on SundayThe Liverpool managing director, Ian Ayre, says the club has no intention of selling striker Luis Suárez despite persistent interest from Arsenal and other clubs.Liverpool has refused two bids from the Gunners and Ayre said that stance will remain.Speaking on Friday ahead of a friendly in Thailand, Ayre said “the situation with Luis Suárez remains the same. It’s never been our intention to sell Luis.”Manager Brendan Rogers said Suárez was short of fitness but would play some part against the Thai national team on Sunday.Rogers said “he’s three weeks in schedule behind other players. But one thing about Luis is he loves to play the game, he loves training and working. I’m sure at some stage of the game, he will play a part.”Rodgers also confirmed that goalkeeper José Reina is set to join Napoli on loan. The Italian club, now managed by former Reds boss Rafael Benítez, made an approach for the Spain international last week.Liverpool can afford to let the 30-year-old move out having signed Belgium keeper Simon Mignolet from Sunderland earlier this summer.Rodgers, speaking at a press conference on the club’s pre-season tour of Thailand, said: “It was obviously a difficult decision.”From last season, really, as a manager I was led to believe that we were going to get an offer for Pepe that would probably see him leave the club.”On the football side, we have to protect the team, and at that stage we started our search for another goalkeeper. That found us Simon Mignolet, who’s top class – one of the top young European goalkeepers.”As events transpired, that move (for Reina) didn’t happen and it left us with two very good goalkeepers. Both would have been fighting for the number one position.”Then obviously an opportunity arose for Pepe and it was one we felt as a football club was best for him to take.”As a senior goalkeeper, he needs to be playing. It’s a very important year for him with the World Cup next year.”It wouldn’t have served any purpose, both for the club and him personally, if he’d been the one missing out.”It’s decided he will go to Napoli and we’ve got two very good goalkeepers still at the football club.”We’ll review it after the loan finishes.”Reina, who joined Liverpool in 2005, had also been linked this summer with a move to Barcelona, where he came through the youth ranks.Luis Suá © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

GUARDIAN – Luis Suárez bid by Arsenal draws derisory response from John W Henry

• ‘What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?’• £40m plus £1 for bid for Liverpool’s Suárez to activate talksThe Liverpool owner John W Henry has hit out at Arsenal following the London club’s £40m plus £1 bid for Luis Suárez, which has triggered a clause in the striker’s contract.That clause means that the Anfield club must let the Uruguayan know of any bids they receive for him from other clubs. Liverpool have rejected that approach, as well as an earlier one for £30m plus £5m in add-ons and the bids have clearly riled Henry, who tweeted: “What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?”Although Suárez has already confirmed that he wants to leave Merseyside, the Liverpool manger, Brendan Rodgers, has recently said that he expects the striker to be playing in the red of Liverpool next season unless something “drastic happens”.Luis SuárezArsenalLiverpoolJohn W HenryTransfer windowIan © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

GUARDIAN – Liverpool defeat Indonesia XI to start pre-season tour on positive note

• Indonesia XI 0-2 Liverpool (Coutinho 10, Sterling 88)• Steven Gerrard returns following shoulder operationLiverpool got their pre-season tour off to a good start as goals from Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling handed them a comfortable 2-0 win over an Indonesia XI in Jakarta, as Steven Gerrard made his return after a shoulder operation.Coutinho got the Reds going with a 10th-minute opener and Sterling sealed the win two minutes from time as Brendan Rodgers’ men prepared to go to Australia to face Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.They will then round off their tour with a game in Thailand on 28 July before beginning their Barclays Premier League campaign against Stoke on 17 August.Coutinho opened the scoring as he attempted to find new signing Luis Alberto but the ball ended up back at his feet, allowing the Brazilian to slot home underneath goalkeeper Kurnia Meiga.Stewart Downing then brought a save out of the stopper before Alberto hit the post.And he was not to be the only newcomer to trouble the woodwork as Iago Aspas hit the bar before the break.Simon Mignolet did well to save a long-range effort from Sergio Van Dijk but the Reds should have gone two up as Coutinho put a great chance over the bar.Multiple substitutions came in the last half-hour and Sterling hit the bar twice soon after being introduced.But he was not to be denied in the 88th minute as he side-footed into an empty net after some good work from Oussama Assaidi and Jordon Ibe.Gerrard told the club’s website: “My shoulder felt fantastic, so it was nice to get the first 45 minutes under my belt and hopefully I’ll get slightly more time in Australia.”It’s been feeling fine now for a few weeks in training, there have been absolutely no problems. The surgeon gave me the go-ahead to play tonight and the manager was sensible in giving me 45 minutes. I’m really happy with how I feel.”It was a difficult game. There’s no air out there to breathe and recover after long runs and the training has been very tough, so the legs are heavy. But we won the game and we got the fitness in.”At the moment, it’s all about the fitness and getting the physical condition back. The results are not really too important, but we’re happy with the win and we move on to the next game. Hopefully we’ll feel better physically.” © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

GUARDIAN – Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic would be happy to play with Luis Suárez

• Bite victim says Suárez is ‘one of the league’s best strikers’• Blues expected to add at least one more forward to squadBranislav Ivanovic would welcome the opportunity to play alongside Luis Suárez should Chelsea opt to pursue their interest in the unsettled Liverpool striker, despite the Serb having been the victim of the forward’s infamous bite when the clubs clashed at Anfield in April.Suárez, who has six games of his 10-match suspension still to serve after the Football Association sanctioned him over that incident, has issued several messages through the Uruguayan media this summer suggesting that, despite his affection for Liverpool, he is keen to play in the Champions League next term. Arsenal have already seen a £30m inquiry knocked back and are preparing an improved £35m offer for the prolific striker.Yet Chelsea’s on-going pursuit of forward reinforcements of their own has seen them consider the 26-year-old’s credentials with Ivanovic, who was bitten on the bicep at Anfield and later accepted Suárez’s post-match telephoned apology, quick to recognise the striker’s qualities. “I said straight after the game that whatever happened on the field finished there,” said the defender. “He’s one of the best strikers in the Premier League. I don’t have any doubt about that, and I have no problem with him.”Chelsea are expected to add at least one more forward to their ranks ahead of the Premier League season, with Fernando Torres — who is still on holiday after the Confederations Cup — Romelu Lukaku and Demba Ba their current options up front. The likes of Wayne Rooney and Christian Benteke have also been mentioned.”This is a period where the big clubs, and the managers of the big clubs, are connected with every player,” said José Mourinho. “Until the deadline, that’s the old story in football. Rumours and rumours and rumours. At the end of the day, after so many rumours, some things come true.”At this moment I’m so happy with the people I have here that I’m not thinking about other players. As I said, already, in my presentation in Stamford Bridge, the first part of my job is to get the best from these players, push the boys to the levels they can reach, and try to make a real team.”After that, we will see. Until 2 September we will see if anyone can improve our squad, but my focus and ambition is to work with these guys. I can say it’s a pleasure to work with them. I was missing this fantastic working relation. Not just for them, but for me. After a week I’m still ‘the happy one’ because my boys were fantastic.”The Portuguese will oversee the first game of his second spell in charge when Chelsea take on Singha All Star XI in Bangkok on Wednesday — the invitation side defeated Manchester United 1-0 here on Saturday — with Mourinho to hand debuts from the start to the Brazilian full-back Wallace, Germany’s Andre Schürrle and the Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. Marco van Ginkel, signed from Vitesse Arnhem for £8m earlier this month, will start the second period with only De Bruyne beginning each half. The club’s other closed season signing, Mark Schwarzer, has now linked up with the squad after receiving his a visa and took part in training on Tuesday afternoon.”They’re not tired like us, we’re still preparing and we’re not at the top of our competition — very far from it,” said Mourinho of Wednesday’s opponents. “We are tired. To lose would not be a drama, but I don’t like to lose, the players don’t like to lose. Winning is part of a culture. If you can do that even in friendly matches, we have to do it.”Ivanovic, who will captain the side after half-time, has himself been the subject of tentative interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco, French football’s nouveaux riches, in recent weeks. “My situation, I’m happy to be here,” he added. “I will work hard to do everything for this club. Nothing will change until the last day I am here. I do not focus on this kind of thing [transfer speculation]. It is good to be working with the manager. ‘Mister’ was in the hearts of all Chelsea supporters all these years, and the situation and atmosphere was everyone expected him to come back.”We are very happy that he’s here and can improve us. For the first week, we’ve really enjoyed it and tried to impress him. But you have to stay focused and we have to prove to him every day that we are good enough to play hard games.”Chelsea first half (4-2-3-1): Cech; Wallace, Kalas, Terry, Cole; Essien, Lampard; Piazon, De Bruyne, Schürrle; Lukaku.Chelsea second half (4-2-3-1): Blackman; Ivanovic, Cahill, Chalobah, Bertrahd; Ramires, Van Ginkel; De Bruyne, Hazard, Moses; Ba.José MourinhoLuis SuárezChelseaTransfer windowLiverpoolDominic © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

GUARDIAN – Ashley Williams has been made captain of Swansea in sign he could stay

• Defender linked with Arsenal and Liverpool• Garry Monk hands over the armbandAshley Williams has been made captain of Swansea in a clear sign that he could stay at the club.Williams has been linked with a move to Arsenal or Liverpool but today the long-serving Swansea defender Garry Monk has confirmed he is stepping down as team captain, with the armband being passed to his fellow centre-half.Monk, who joined the Swans in 2004 and became skipper in 2006, made just 15 appearances last season.The 34-year-old is to retain the club captaincy, but the 28-year-old Williams – out of the side for only one Premier League game last term – will lead the team on the field now, even when the pair are playing together.Monk told “It’s a personal decision from myself. The way I look at being a captain, you should consistently be on the pitch.”Ash has been consistent on the pitch over a number of years. I’ve said a few times I’ve not played as much as I would have liked, but I’ve still contributed in a number of games.”But, overall, I feel the team captain should be someone who is on there as a figure of continuity. Ash is that.”He has worn the armband when I’ve not played, so I felt it was the right thing to do to let him lead the team out even when I was playing.”Obviously, if the manager [Michael Laudrup] says anything different then we would listen to him. But I will remain as club captain. To have been captain of this team and club is one of my proudest achievements.”My duties as club captain on the pitch, in the changing rooms and in the community will remain.”Even when I haven’t got the armband on when I’m playing, I’ll still be a leader on the pitch.”Swansea CityArsenalLiverpoolPremier © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

GUARDIAN – Preston 0-4 Liverpool | Friendly match report

• Preston 0-4 Liverpool• Coutinho 14pen, Ibe 37, Sterling 64, Aspas 75Liverpool’s Iago Aspas marked his debut with a goal but he will have to score plenty more if fans are to celebrate a new hero to replace Luis Suárez.The Spaniard, signed from Celta Vigo for £7.7m, curled home his side’s final effort as they eased their way back by winning the specially-commissioned Shankly Shield, in honour of Liverpool’s former manager and Preston player Bill Shankly.In reality the game at Preston North End had already been settled with goals from Philippe Coutinho, Jordon Ibe and Raheem Sterling in little more than a gentle run-out – even if temperatures on the pitch touched 30C.It provided no proper gauge for an assessment on the work manager Brendan Rodgers has done over the summer or his four new signings, who all featured.Aside from one first-half save from Scott Laird’s shot, the goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had nothing to do, while the centre-back Kolo Touré may have had a more testing game had the new Preston signing Kevin Davies been ready to play.Rodgers’ two Spanish imports, Aspas and Luis Alberto, played the second half with Aspas’s 20-yard left-foot curler for Liverpool’s fourth in the 75th minute the highlight.Conspicuous by his absence was Suárez, the Uruguay international on extended leave because of Confederations Cup duty who seemingly wants out of Anfield.Rodgers did not speak to the media after the match, wanting to avoid an inquisition over the 26-year-old for whom the club have already turned down a £30m bid from Arsenal.Daniel Sturridge was absent, still making his way back from an ankle injury, and while the captain Steven Gerrard was fit after missing the last two matches of the season to have a shoulder operation, he watched from the sidelines.Who will provide the goals without that trio remains to be seen, with Rodgers still looking to add attacking options after missing out on Shakhtar Donetsk’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan.Aspas showed he has the potential to contribute but while the forward Fabio Borini, who missed much of last season with injuries, was a willing runner he spurned his one chance with only the goalkeeper Declan Rudd to beat.Coutinho, inventive in the opening 45 minutes, won and converted a penalty after a 13th-minute foul by John Welsh.Ibe, 17, cut in from the left to drill a low right-foot shot just inside the post, Sterling raced on to Aspas’s pass to round the replacement goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann before the new Spanish signing wrapped things up.Preston North © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

GUARDIAN – Luis Suárez: Brendan Rodgers’ silence speaks louder than words | Paul Wilson

Liverpool striker seems unlikely to start the season at Anfield as he makes little secret of his impatience with his positionFour of Liverpool’s summer signings were doing Melwood media duties for the first time on Wednesday. Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Kolo Touré and Simon Mignolet all spoke appreciatively of the warm reception they have received at the club and all four dutifully recorded their delight at joining a side so rich in tradition and history.You know how these things go: they are hardly likely to complain about anything on their first day, are they? Just strike the right tone, say the expected things and get back to training. Everyone expected it but even so all four newcomers were asked how they felt about Luis Suárez, specifically whether the excitable Uruguayan should stay or go.If you want to know how desperate things get in the dog days of the close season, there’s your answer, right there.Clearly Alberto, Aspas, Touré and Mignolet all said Suárez is a terrific player, because he is. They all said they would like him to stay too, because anyone would. But whether he will or not, who knows?Certainly not a quartet of newcomers who have been at the club only five minutes and were being asked the question only because Brendan Rodgers is not making himself available. There is no need for the Liverpool manager to do so at this stage of the season, though apparently he will not be answering questions either at the end of the friendly against Preston North End on Saturday. Rodgers is aware that all the questions at any event this week will be heavily focused on Suárez and it would seem from his reticence that at the moment he does not have any ready answers.What the Liverpool hierarchy are conspicuously not saying is what David Moyes said last week when asked about Wayne Rooney. The new Manchester United manager simply said Rooney would be staying at the club and would not be sold. He wanted to close the matter there, though without any comment from a supposedly disillusioned Rooney it was hard to see that as the end of the story: the ball had simply been lobbed back into the player’s court.With Suárez the ball has never left the player’s court. Liverpool have stuck by him in the past, quite rashly at times, yet apart from scripted apologies and club statements Suárez has never publicly accepted that he owes the club any loyalty and would not be tempted by a better offer.Quite the reverse, in fact. Speaking to a radio station in Uruguay he claimed two or three clubs wanted him and he welcomed Arsenal’s interest – despite his previously stated desire to leave the Premier League due to unfair treatment by the English media – because it made him feel valued.He seems to be suggesting his present club does not make him feel valued and after all that has happened, whatever the rights and wrongs of the Anfield stance when he was accused of being racially abusive, Liverpool hardly deserve that.Perhaps Suárez knows what many already suspect, that Liverpool have decided to sell him and are simply awaiting the highest bid. That would be understandable, given the number of games Suárez misses through suspension and the amount of money that could potentially be placed on the table, though if the process is reliant on Real Madrid coming through with a big offer to blow any renewed interest from Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City out of the water, selling might not be a simple matter.Suárez would prefer a move to Madrid but the Spanish club know that and are in a position to bide their time and wait until Liverpool become desperate to sell. Without any firm word from the Bernabéu the saga could easily spread out across the rest of the summer. Suárez is out of the country for another 11 days, though not short of news outlets through which to express himself in Uruguay, and is scheduled to join up with Liverpool in the middle of their pre-season tour.After what he has been saying back home that does not seem the greatest idea and the notion of Suárez actually starting the season with Liverpool grows more unlikely by the day. He is now making little secret of his impatience with affairs as they stand, shrugging his shoulders and accepting that he must return to Liverpool but clearly hoping that the phone call that might change everything will come soon and save him the trouble.In a possibly misguided attempt to have it both ways, Edinson Cavani recently spoke up on Suárez’s behalf, claiming that his “love for Liverpool” is very real. “If they were playing in the Champions League, he would not consider leaving,” the Napoli striker said. “But he knows he is now at the stage of his career when he needs to be playing at the top level.”Well said, Mr Cavani. Both realistic and revealing. Harsh yet still fair.But by my reckoning Suárez still owes Liverpool something. A trouble-free season, perhaps, and with it a proper crack at bringing Champions League football back to Anfield.Luis SuárezLiverpoolBrendan RodgersTransfer windowPaul © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. 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GUARDIAN – Luis Suárez’s Liverpool return on schedule but remains keen to leave

• Uruguay striker resumes training on 21 July• ‘A phone call could change everything’Luis Suárez has said he intends returning to Liverpool on 21 July but he qualified that by adding “a phone call could change everything”.The Liverpool striker has been linked with Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid and told the Uruguay radio station Sport 890: “There have been no offers yet but Liverpool know exactly what is going on and what I want.”Arsenal had a £30m bid rejected by Liverpool this week and Suárez said: “It’s good to know that I am still valued by teams like Arsenal. Friends call me up to ask if I am moving to Chelsea, to which I laugh.”He added: “My agent is in charge, he knows what I want, I am resting and relaxed. I am due back in about 10 days, on 21 July [for the friendly with Melbourne Victory]. A phone call could change everything.”The forward’s agent, Pere Guardiola, was at Liverpool’s training ground, Melwood, on Monday for talks over Suárez’s future and though nothing was resolved the meeting was said to have been amicable.The player is on holiday in Uruguay after being given time off following the Confederations Cup. He is due to miss the first six games of the new season after being banned for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.Luis SuárezLiverpoolArsenalReal MadridChelseaTransfer © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

GUARDIAN – Henrikh Mkhitaryan disappoints Liverpool by joining Borussia

• Attacking midfielder signs for £23.6m• Armenian helped Shakhtar to titleLiverpool have been left disappointed in their pursuit of the attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan after the Champions League runners-up Borussia Dortmund paid €27.5m (£23.6m) to buy the Armenian international from Shakhtar Donetsk.”Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia have settled all matters on Henrikh Mkhitaryan transfer to the German club. Transfer fee is €27.5m,” Shakhtar said in a statement on their website (, capped 37 times by Armenia, had an impressive season as he helped Shakhtar win the Ukraine league title and reach the Champions League last 16 where they were knocked out by Dortmund.”We are delighted that we got a fantastic new signing for the attacking midfield role in Henrikh Mkhitaryan,” Borussia’s sporting director Michael Zorc told Dortmund’s website (, who scored 46 goals in 106 games after joining Shakhtar in 2010, is Dortmund’s third signing of the close season following the arrivals of Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Werder Bremen and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from St Etienne.LiverpoolBorussia DortmundPremier © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds