Liverpool are anxiously awaiting the results of a scan on Daniel Sturridge's ankle injury amid concern it could affect their preparations for the start of next season.
Sturridge was carried off during England's 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland at Wembley on Wednesday after a challenge by Glenn Whelan and immediately withdrew from the trip to Brazil. Roy Hodgson, the England manager, claimed the Liverpool striker could be sidelined for "a few weeks" with ankle ligament damage but the club fear a lengthier absence awaits the 23-year-old. Liverpool are concerned Sturridge, who scored an impressive 11 goals in 16 appearances following his January move from Chelsea, will miss the start of pre-season training, possibly longer, and expect to discover the full extent of the problem on Tuesday.
Brendan Rodgers is desperately hoping for some good news on Sturridge as he attempts to plan for next season amid serious doubt over Luis Suárez's future at the club. Suárez's agent, Pere Guardiola, has reiterated that his client remains happy at Liverpool and has no plans to quit Anfield this summer. "He is fine at Liverpool but recent times have been tough for him," said the agent. "There is nothing more in it." But Liverpool are acutely aware that Real Madrid are one of several leading European clubs interested in Suárez.
Liverpool insist their position on their leading striker – namely that he is not for sale and remains an invaluable part of Rodgers's long-term plans – has not changed in light of Wednesday's interview with Uruguayan radio station 890 Sport in which he admitted it would be hard to resist the lure of Real and had been "attacked unfairly" by the English press. Liverpool, however, are mindful that a lack of European competition next season, coupled with his anger at receiving a 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic, has left them vulnerable should the 26-year-old ask to leave in search of Champions League football.
Suárez has a release clause believed to be in excess of £40m in the contract he signed at the start of last season and, though Real president Florentino Pérez has been circumspect about a move, the striker's camp are aware of interest from Madrid. Pérez was quoted in Marca on Thursday saying: "Suárez is a great player and I am sure all in the world would want him. I like him and others too, but it does not always fit."
Liverpool have already agreed to sign one striker for next season, Iago Aspas of Celta Vigo, who will undergo a medical on Merseyside after his club's fate in La Liga has been decided at home to Espanyol this weekend. Celta have accepted a €9m offer (£7.7m) for the 25-year-old who, like Suárez, can operate at the head of the attack, as a second striker or out wide, although Liverpool were tracking Aspas before Suárez's future was cast into further doubt at the end of last season.
The Anfield club have also made an offer for Sevilla's highly-rated attacking midfielder, Luis Alberto, although that transfer is complicated by his current loan deal with Barcelona. The 20-year-old is on a season-long loan with Barcelona's B team and the Spanish champions have an option to make his move permanent before the end of June. That has not deterred Liverpool from submitting a bid to Sevilla and putting themselves in prime position to sign Alberto should a move to Barcelona fail to materialise.
In what promises to be a summer of hectic transfer activity at Liverpool – with Rodgers's budget potentially swelled by the sales of Suárez, Andy Carroll and Martin Skrtel among others – the club believe a bid from Barcelona for goalkeeper José Reina is imminent. Victor Valdés, Barcelona's current No1, is expected to be unveiled as Monaco's latest signing , with a long-awaited move for Liverpool's 30-year-old keeper to follow.
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