Luis Suarez signs new long-term contract with Liverpool
LONDON (AP) - Only four months after publicly pleading to leave the club in the hope of joining Premier League rivals Arsenal, Luis Suarez has completed a remarkable U-turn and signed a new long-term contract at Liverpool.
The 26-year-old complained in August that Liverpool had broken an agreement allowing him to leave after the club failed to qualify for the Champions League. His complaint came shortly after Liverpool had rejected a transfer bid from Arsenal for the striker.
Liverpool stood firm however and Suarez began a dramatic period of rehabilitation.
The Uruguay forward is the top scorer in the Premier League this season with 17 league goals in 11 starts, including a quadruple against Norwich and a hat trick against West Brom.
Tipped to shine at the World Cup next year, his form has helped Liverpool climb to second in the division, two points behind Arsenal.
''We have some great players and the team is growing and improving all the time,'' Suarez said. ''I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool. My aim is to help get us there as quickly as possible.''
Suarez missed Liverpool's first six league games this season as he completed a 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
It was the latest in a long line of ugly incidents involving Suarez, who was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in October 2011.
Despite his habit for creating controversy, Liverpool supporters have remained loyal to their talisman.
''Without doubt the backing I have received from the Liverpool fans has influenced my decision,'' he said. ''I am so proud to represent them and go out to do my best for them every time I pull on the shirt.
''We have a special relationship. They have love for me and in return I love them back. I will always do my best for them and hopefully we can achieve success together.''
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers made Suarez train alone after his outburst in August but the striker returned to the first-team squad before the start of the season.
The Reds are aiming to finish in the Premier League's top four to qualify for the Champions League and could mount a challenge for the title if the team maintains its current form.
''This is fantastic news for everyone associated with the club; the team, the owners and most importantly the supporters,'' Rodgers said.
''Luis is a world-class talent and securing his services is crucial for what we are trying to achieve here.
''What's most important and most exciting is that, at just 26 years old, his best years are still ahead of him and we now know we'll be seeing him reach that potential in a Liverpool shirt.''
Suarez's contract was due to expire in 2016.
Liverpool owner John W. Henry added: ''We are committed to working hard to keep our best players and this is an indication that we are moving in the right direction and moving at a pace that impresses one of the best players in world football.''
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