Liverpool striker Luis Suarez’s re-integration to the squad has begun after he trained with his team-mates for the first time in over a week.
The Uruguay international had been banished to work on his own at the club’s Melwood complex following outspoken criticism of manager Brendan Rodgers and the club.
Suarez went public with his grievance that he believed the Reds had reneged on a deal struck last summer which allowed him to leave for a Champions League club - and that a second bid of £40,000,001 by Arsenal should have triggered his release.
Rodgers responded by claiming the attitude and performances of last season’s 30-goal striker had fallen below the required standard and he was be training on his own until an apology was forthcoming.
However, Press Association Sport understands Suarez returned to train with his team-mates as they prepared for tomorrow’s home match against Stoke – although the South American is suspended for a further six matches as his ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April is carried over.
Liverpool would not confirm how – or even whether – an apology had been made but it appears the striker is back on the road to redemption.
After last weekend’s friendly defeat to Celtic in Dublin Rodgers confirmed Suarez would need to say sorry before any re-integration took place.
“Initially there will be a recognition that (there needs to be) an apology to his team-mates and the club,” he said.
“When he is back from his international trip (Suarez went to Japan with Uruguay in midweek) we will assess it from there.
“He is a world-class striker and when he is committed to the cause we will welcome him back with open arms.”
Initially there was some suggestion while he was on international duty that the player’s stance had mellowed, with Uruguayan newspaper El Observador quoting him as saying: “For now, owing to all the affection of the people, I would be staying.”
However, after the 4-2 victory over Japan, in which Suarez scored, the Japanese media reported Suarez as claiming he had never uttered those words.
But since Suarez arrived back on Merseyside there appears to have been some kind of reconciliation.
Rodgers insists he does not want give more publicity to a saga which has rumbled on all summer.
“There has been so much written and said about Luis over the last few months I don’t really want to answer any more questions on Luis Suarez,” he said yesterday.
“What I want to concentrate on is the players that are available for this weekend (against Stoke) so I won’t be speaking any more about Luis Suarez until he is available.
“There is nothing to be said that hasn’t already been said. I am sure people are fed up of listening about it and reading about it.”
While repairing the relationship with Suarez is something Rodgers will continue to work on he is looking to the future in other ways as he tries to make final improvements to his squad.
A deal in principle has been agreed to sign Valencia defender Aly Cissokho with a view to it becoming a permanent deal while Press Association Sport understands the club have opened discussions over the possibility of bringing Brazil international Willian to Anfield.
Rodgers has been looking for reinforcements at left-back as Jose Enrique is his only senior player in that position and has identified the Frenchman Cissokho as a viable option.
Rodgers is also keen to add another attacking player to his squad before the end of the transfer window and having failed to land both Shakhtar Donetsk’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa he has turned his attention to Anzhi Makhachkala forward Willian.
He is one of a number of high-earning players the Russian club’s owner Suleiman Kerimov is looking to offload but although Liverpool are interested in the 25-year-old they are aware they will face stiff competition from a number of clubs.
Their hopes will have been raised by the player, who in comments reported by ESPN Brazil said: “I’m waiting for a new bid to arrive in the next days from a few clubs, like Liverpool.
“If it’s really Liverpool, then it is surely a great club. I’m hopeful and very calm, just waiting for the best.
“I like the Premier League very much, I enjoy English football.
“I know there have been some talks, but I don’t know the values, the agent didn’t tell me, he just said there were talks with some clubs, he didn’t name them, but I think they are English.”