Brendan Rodgers has dismissed the possibility of Liverpool selling Luis Suárez to Manchester City in January, insisting the striker is happy at the club and will not be made available at any price.
"There will be no bidding war, he's staying here," the Liverpool manager said, in response to suggestions of a £50m bid from the Premier League champions. "I don't know if City want him, you would have to ask Roberto Mancini that, but if we lose Luis then we have no strikers, so we can't afford to lose anyone."
He was later backed by Suárez himself, who told Liverpoolfc.com: "I have a very long contract here and it's a dream come true to be playing at a club like Liverpool because, as I've said, as a boy I dreamt of playing for a team like this.
"Now I'm here it's all about enjoying myself and trying to be here for as many years as I can, because I'm at a club where I'm very happy, my family is happy, I've got fantastic team-mates and a manager from whom I'm learning so much.
"As a player, it's vital to have the backing of your manager and so I think that the confidence Brendan is showing in myself and the team as a whole is very important and it's down to us to repay that trust out there on the pitch. Let's hope we can keep improving. I'm working well and I'm very happy at a club where I've always wanted to be."
City have distanced themselves from a move for the Uruguayan, who has more than three years left on his contract, though whatever the club and whatever the price it would be a surprise if someone did not try to lure Suárez away from Liverpool, such is the form he has been showing this season.
Liverpool, 13th in the league, cannot presently offer Champions League football, and though Rodgers feels they are moving in the right direction the likelihood is that a top-four finish might have to wait another year or two. So Suárez, who played in Europe's elite competition with Ajax, is ripe for the picking.
"There will always be clubs interested in our players, but we are not interested in selling our best ones," Rodgers said. "So it's straightforward. Luis is not someone we want to sell or move on. He has been a brilliant player to work with and we are looking to add to our squad, not take people out of it, especially a world-class player. Luis showed his commitment to the club in the summer by signing a new deal, he is scoring goals and working well. Like I say, he's very happy here.
"The modern game is very much about player movement, that's part of football these days, but I will always fight to keep our best assets at the club," he said.
Having been left reliant on Suárez following the departure of Andy Carroll in the summer and the non-arrival of Clint Dempsey, Rodgers is aware that reinforcing the strikers is a priority in January, not just as an insurance policy but so that the senior players are reassured the club's ambition matches their own. "We need to show we are making strides," he said. "But that's not purely myself. That's the club in terms of how we go forward."
Wigan are the visitors to Anfield on Saturday, a fixture won by the away team last season and a reminder that Liverpool's home form – just three league wins in the whole of 2012 – is the main reason they are languishing in the lower half of the table.
"It's not a great record, we need to start turning draws into wins," Rodgers said. "We have seen some relentless performances where we haven't always been clinical enough to finish opportunities off, but we can't let it burden us. We have to start winning if we are going to progress up the league, but if we worry too much about that we will end up with fear of making a mistake. I don't want that, you have to be relaxed. I want the players to play with freedom, not worry about results."