Luis Suarez commits himself to Liverpool, possesses ‘group mentality’

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Ahead of today’s massive fixture between Liverpool and Chelsea, Luis Suarez has calmed the nerves of the Kop by telling the Sunday Times that he will be at Anfield when next season rolls around.

“I’ll be here next season, yes,” Suarez said. “Not only am I playing for Liverpool, I am playing in one of the best leagues in the world.

“I am very happy (at Liverpool) and I want to see out my contract, though in football you never know quite what’s ahead.”

The Uruguayan appeared to leave a little wiggle room with the later portion of the statement, but Reds supporters will nevertheless find comfort in Suarez’ qualification, adding:  “A club can decide they don’t want you, even though you want to stay. In football things never turn out the way you plan.”

Like all top players, Suarez dreams of playing in the Champions League but with five matches to play and 11 points away from qualification, Liverpool won’t be involved in the competition next season. German giants Bayern Munich, however, will be. And with Pep Guardiola set to take over as manager, the Bavarians have made no secret of their admiration for Suarez. The buzz of interest has compelled Liverpool to regularly down-play the reports of Suarez’ possible departure and up until Sunday only veiled references indicated the striker’s intent to stay.

If Suarez were to depart it would be a crushing blow to Liverpool, who’s striking options would be left to Daniel Sturridge, on-loan striker Andy Carroll and the oft-injured Fabio Borini. Of course, a transfer of the striker would bring in a haul of $45-$90 million with which to find a suitable replacement. But if the Reds are to compete in next season’s Premiership, the constant shuffling of the attack is something that the club will look to avoid.

With 29 goals to his name, Suarez has provided Liverpool with the lion’s share of their scoring leading to his short-listing for PFA Player of the Year earlier this week. When asked whether he would have preferred to help Liverpool win a trophy and score fewer goals, the striker said: “Yes, 100 times more. I’ve got very much a group mentality.”

It’s a mindset Reds supporters will hope persists through what promises to be a drama-filled summer in the transfer market.

STREAM LIVE: The Manchester Derby

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The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Sergio Aguero starts for Man City, with Gabriel Jesus on the bench.

On the other side, it’ll be a physical middle-third guarded by Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, and Marouane Fellaini. Wayne Rooney and Jesse Lingard start on the bench.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Bravo, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Sterling, De Bruyne, Sane, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Fernando, Navas, Clichy, Gabriel Jesus, A. Garcia

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Mkhitaryan; Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Young, Lingard, Rooney.

Ex-Liverpool CEO shares biting story of Suarez transfer

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Ian Ayre’s got jokes.

The former Liverpool CEO lifted the lid on some transfer stories during a Merseyside lecture this week.

Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).

The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…

“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”

We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.

Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.

Men in Blazers podcast: Chelsea tops Spurs, Top Four predictions

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Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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De Rossi admits desire to beat young teammates with bat

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Daniele De Rossi doesn’t like the modern world.

Okay, okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the Roma legend dropped a funny quote when discussing the differences between young players these days and those when he began his career.

A one-club man, the 33-year-old De Rossi has played in 556 matches for i Lupi and admits that he probably flummoxed veterans when he began his career because that’s the cyclical nature of adulthood.

From Italia Football:

“When we started out, it was all different, that was 20 years ago. Now a 20-year-old will get into the first team and have more Instagram followers than Messi. When I was young, the older players would say ‘it wasn’t like in my day’ – that’s life and it always will be.

“Mind you, some of them irritate me too. When I see them do live Instagram videos from inside the locker room before a game, I’d like to take a baseball bat to their teeth… But they’re 18 years old and in 20 years’ time they will find themselves complaining about the youth of today.”

Mmmm, tastes like ash and hickory.

It’s a safe bet that De Rossi isn’t wild about Stephan El Shaarawy’s hair, we imagine, but living legends generally get a little leeway with their comments in the media.

Plus, it sounds like he has the wisdom to understand the “why” and at least channel his angry into tackles.