Real are one of the few clubs with the means to activate a release clause in the Uruguayan's contract, believed to be in excess of £40m. Liverpool have repeatedly stated that their leading goalscorer is not for sale, a stance reiterated by Brendan Rodgers only last week, but they fear Suárez may request a move in search of Champions League football.
Those concerns deepened on Wednesday when Suárez gave the clearest signal yet that he is prepared to leave Anfield following another turbulent season in English football. The 26-year-old scored 30 goals for Liverpool last season but collected a 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic, a suspension that will apply to the first six games of next season and which has left him considering his future in England.
In an interview with the Uruguayan radio station 890 Sport, Suárez said: "I love Liverpool, but if there is a chance of playing somewhere else … I suffered too much as a kid to get where I am to be attacked unfairly by the English press. They haven't appreciated me as a player, they've just judged my attitude.
"I'm happy at Liverpool, I'm happy because of the fans. I made a mistake, I'm human, but [the press] talked about me in ways they shouldn't have. My family have suffered and things got out of hand. My daughter and my wife have suffered. I'm not prepared to continue to put up with the English press."
Asked about Real, he said: "I've talked to my agent, there's nothing concrete. To say no to Madrid would always be difficult and more so with the team they have," Suarez added. "I have a contract with Liverpool, but it would be very difficult to say no to Real Madrid. There are a lot of rumours in the transfer period, but you never know until firm offers are made.
"I've talked to the coach [Rodgers], and he knows what I want. He was a player. Some of the players understand my situation – enough said." He added that Liverpool ahve treated him well and he had "only words of thanks for the fans".
Real Madrid's president Florentino Pérez was played clip of the Suárez interview by a Spanish radio station and then said: "Well, Suarez is a great player, like [Edinson] Cavani, [Robert] Lewandowski … We can't talk about players from other clubs but if you ask me if I like Luis Suárez then, yes."
Liverpool had hoped the firm support they showed to Suárez over the Ivanovic bite and the Patrice Evra racism controversy, for which he earned an eight-match ban last year, would be reciprocated by their £23.5m signing from Ajax. Liverpool's lack of European football, however, combined with Suárez's frustrations in England, have combined to open the way for Real.
The admission came on the same day that Liverpool agreed a €9m (£7.7m) deal to sign Iago Aspas from Celta Vigo. This will strengthen the belief that they have begun preparing for life without Suárez, even though Aspas has been scouted throughout the Spanish league season.
Celta's 25-year-old forward is expected to undergo a medical on Merseyside after Liverpool moved swiftly to secure a deal for a player also wanted by Swansea and Valencia. The Spaniard has scored 12 goals in 33 league games this season but will not finalise his side of the deal until after the final game of the season, at home to Espanyol. Celta are third from bottom in La Liga and trail Deportivo La Coruña by a point.
Aspas has a buyout clause of €10m in his Celta contract, but that will drop to €7m in the event of relegation. With several clubs interested, Liverpool struck a compromise deal ahead of the game that will determine his club's league status.
A quick striker who can lead the attack but who has also operated as a second striker and out wide, Aspas meets Rodgers's criteria for a versatile forward who can strengthen the depth of the squad next season.
squad. Coming a day after a free transfer was agreed in principle for Manchester City's Kolo Touré, the deal also reflects the Liverpool manager's determination to move quickly in the transfer market despite the doubts surrounding several key players.
Suárez's potential departure would inevitably have a huge bearing on Rodgers' budget, although the manager is prepared to consider alternatives to his leading central-defensive target, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, should Schalke attempt to start an auction. Liverpool value the 21-year-old in the region of £12m but reports in Bild on Wednesday claim his club are now demanding €22.5m. Sporting Lisbon's Tiago Ilori is likely to be Rodgers' next target.
Liverpool also expect Barcelona to confirm a long-standing interest in José Reina with an official offer for their 30-year-old goalkeeper. Reina, who began his career at Camp Nou, was linked with a return as Victor Valdes' replacement throughout last season and a bid of around £10m may tempt Liverpool into a deal.
Speaking at the launch of his Twitter account in Spain on Wednesday, Reina said: "It is difficult to say no to Barça although I am not aware if they are interested in me."
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