Liverpool have poured scorn on Arsenal's £40m bid for Luis Suárez, claiming it was ridiculous when compared with the £86m Real Madrid are prepared to pay for Gareth Bale.
Brendan Rodgers insisted that he wanted to keep his transfer-seeking Uruguay striker, who was given a standing ovation by the Anfield crowd when he appeared as a second-half substitute in Steven Gerrard's testimonial match against Olympiakos.
Rodgers said that Suárez had viewed his introduction from the bench with "a wee bit of trepidation", only to be "humbled" by the warmth of his reception. "That just showed you the class of the Liverpool supporters", the manager said. "That was a message from them, that they love him here. We all love him – the players the manager and the fans, and Luis is still very much part of what we are doing."
Of Arsenal's interest, which has had Suarez's advisers talking of possible legal action to engineer a move, Rodgers said: "Look at the market. Gareth Bale and Luis Suárez were the best two players in the Premier League last season, and you can't say Bale is worth 100% more.
"There are lots of stories, lots of speculation about Luis, but there's no change in the situation. Of all the clubs he has been linked with, we've had two bids from one club [Arsenal] and they were nowhere near our valuation. Unless something dramatic happens it's very simple. We don't want to sell him."
By way of a rider, Rodgers added that every player had his price, and that Liverpool would do business with any buyer matching the fee they had in mind, which is believed to be £60m. Suárez is banned for the first six matches of the season, completing the suspension imposed for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in April, and for all the managerial protestations to the contrary, the smart money is still on Suárez going and the arrival of Diego Costa, from Atlético Madrid, to replace him.
"Humbled" Uruguay's finest may have been on Saturday, but if he was it was long overdue. Suárez is to loyalty what Eamonn Holmes is to hang-gliding and it beggared belief to hear Liverpool fans cheer him to the echo when he went on for Iago Aspas, the £7.2m summer signing from Celta Vigo, after 62 minutes. This is a man who has been sticking two fingers up at the Kop, metaphorically speaking, all summer, yet he even got a round of applause for one of his trademark visits to the turf.
By way of contrast, if there is a Premier League player more deserving of a testimonial than Gerrard his name does not spring readily to mind. The England midfielder has served his home town club with inspirational distinction for nigh on 15 years, since his debut in November 1998, amassing 440 appearances and 98 goals. His love affair with Liverpool goes back even further, to the Championship-winning era, when he joined the academy, aged nine.
In these mercenary times Gerrard is possibly the last of a vanishing breed, the one-club man, and it is not without irony that he is spending much of his time trying to persuade Suárez, the antithesis of loyalty, to stay.
Liverpool won their glorified friendly 2-0, with goals from Joe Allen and the substitute Jordan Henderson, but the loudest cheer was for neither goal, nor for Gerrard or Suárez. It greeted possibly the last appearance in a Liverpool shirt of Robbie Fowler, Gerrard's old pal, who replaced Raheem Sterling after 74 minutes. The old poacher is carrying some extra avoirdupois these days but still came close to scoring at the Kop end.
Olympiakos, to their credit, provided their services free of charge (no need to beware these Greeks bearing gifts), enabling Gerrard to pass on the thick end of £1m to his charitable foundation that benefits under-privileged children.
Paying tribute to his captain, Rodgers said: "It shows you the type of person Steve is that it was his day, yet he wanted it to be about everyone bar him. He wanted it to be a big part of our pre-season preparation. It was a great opportunity for the supporters to come and pay homage to an iconic player for this club. He's 33 but for me he's still got a number of years left yet. I speak to him on a daily basis and he's hungry for the club to do well. He's a real talisman and a real gentleman, too. A wonderful man."