Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard revealed yesterday he has been working to convince Luis Suarez to remain at the club as Arsenal reportedly upped their bid for the Uruguay striker to £40 million (HK$476 million).
Suarez, 26, has made clear he is keen to move to a team playing Champions League football, although he joined his teammates in Melbourne this week in what manager Brendan Rodgers called "great spirits".
The Gunners had already had a £30 million bid rejected and came back with an extra £10 million and one pound, the BBC reported.
Under the terms of Suarez's deal, the club are duty bound to consider any offer for him in excess of £40m, but Liverpool appear determined to keep their star asset and again reportedly turned down the bid.
Gerrard, 33, said he had been talking to Suarez since he arrived from Montevideo and continued to remind him that there is "a lot of love" for him from the club, the players and the fans.
"He is still a Liverpool player," Gerrard told The Australian ahead of Liverpool's 2-0 pre-season warm-up win over Melbourne Victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last night in which the club captain netted the first-half opener with new Spanish forward Iago Aspas getting the clincher in extra time.
Asked earlier this week whether he expected Suarez to remain at Liverpool, Rodgers said: "Yes, very much so."
The manager added he was relaxed about the Suarez speculation, saying "the bottom line is he is employed by the club".
"He's an integral part of the squad. He's arrived in great spirits," he said on Monday, and that no offer had come close to his value.
Asked what Suarez's value was, Rodgers replied: "I didn't say we would sell him. I said that every player has a value and a worth. Doesn't mean you've got to sell them."
Gerrard, who last week signed a new two-year contract extension with the club, said he believed success is just around the corner for the Merseyside club, and urged the team's owners to keep backing Rodgers.
The Reds have not won the English title for more than 20 years, struggling in recent times to stay in touch with cashed-up Premier League rivals Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.
Gerrard, who has been at Liverpool since he was a young boy, said he had nothing but praise for Rodgers, who assumed the role last season and has started to turn the club's fortunes around.
"We have a great relationship," he said. "He has shown a lot of faith in me both on and off the field. It is early days, but I am sure our relationship will continue to grow.
"We are moving in the right direction. We are playing nice football and hopefully the owners continue to back him and he is able to add to the squad to make it stronger so we can compete for trophies.
"We have bought well in the off-season and if we can get another two players in key areas then we have a good chance."
Rodgers has already brought in four players since the end of last season - Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, Manchester City defender Kolo Toure, Celta Vigo's Aspas and Barcelona B's Luis Alberto.