Liverpool took the decision to sell Luis Suarez within minutes of the biting incident at the World Cup and informed the player’s agent within hours of the final whistle in the game between Uruguay and Italy that if the right offer came along he would be free to leave.
Owner John Henry saw a replay of the incident and decided that the risk of damage to the Liverpool brand, which is regarded by the owner as so much more important than what happens in a particular season, was too great to carry on with the player.
Henry is believed to have phoned manager Brendan Rodgers to tell him to sell only to find that the manager had reached the same conclusion. At the same time both men, though acknowledging that the player’s value has fallen following the incident, are determined not to sell cheaply.
Barcelona were informed of the Liverpool decision and told that a bid of £85 million would be acceptable, and Barcelona responded with a £71 million offer. It now seems a deal will be reached for something between the two figures. Liverpool ideally would like around £55 million and striker Alexis Sanchez as a makeweight, but it is not certain that Sanchez wants to leave Spain.
Talks between Barcelona director of football management, Raul Sanllehi, and Liverpool’s chief executive, Ian Ayre have now taken place and another meeting is scheduled for next week.