Aug 17 2013
A smiling Luis Suarez arrived at Anfield on Saturday to watch his team-mates play Stoke in the opening fixture of the Barclays Premier League.
The Uruguay international, carrying daughter Delfina, walked around the perimeter of the pitch to a ripple of applause from the smattering of fans assembled inside the ground an hour before kick-off.
He even stopped to shake hands with former referee Mark Halsey at pitchside before disappearing down the tunnel, emerging less than 10 minutes later to make the walk back to the executive boxes in the Centenary Stand on the opposite side of the ground.
A small group of Stoke bans booed as he walked past them but there was more applause and the odd cheer as the 26-year-old made his way back.
Suarez, whose future at the club has been the subject of speculation all summer long after he began agitating for a move away, is suspended for the first six matches of the campaign as his ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic is carried over.
He returned to training with his first-team colleagues on Friday for the first time in over a week having been exiled by Brendan Rodgers after the player claimed the manager and the club had reneged on a deal agreed last summer to allow him to leave for a Champions League side.
Suarez went public with his grievances after a second bid of £40million plus £1 by Arsenal, which they thought should have triggered his departure, was rejected by the Merseysiders.
Liverpool have always maintained there was no release clause as such, only a requirement to notify the player and begin negotiations should they wish.
Rodgers' response to the South American's comments was to claim the attitude and performances of last season's 30-goal striker had fallen below the required standard and he was to train on his own until an apology was forthcoming.
Even with the transfer window closing in just over a fortnight, time was always on the manager's side once they had made it clear the player was not for sale because of Suarez's long suspension, which means he is not available until the end of September.
But Rodgers will feel vindicated his stance, fully backed by principal owner John Henry's unequivocal statement that Suarez was not for sale, has appeared to strengthened his authority.