Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre insists that star striker Luis Suarez will not be sold this summer, despite the club being eight points adrift of a top-four league position.

"The last thing in our mind is selling Luis Suarez," Ayre told Sports Illustrated. "He's not for sale. It's not something we're interested in."

Suarez has scored 22 goals in 32 appearances this season and the Reds' failure to achieve Champions League football next season has rekindled rumours that the 26-year-old could join a rival club in the summer, just twelve months after signing a long-term contract.

"To play at the highest level in the Premier League and European soccer, you need players like Luis and Steven Gerrard on your team." Ayre added, on behalf of American-based Liverpool owner John Henry.

"We don't want to just build a team but to keep winning. To do that you have to have a number of world-class players on your team."

Ayre also added that he was pleased by manager Brendan Rodgers' January signings, including England international Daniel Sturridge.

"It's a combination of skills and people and processes that brings us what we're trying to achieve." said the Merseyside club executive. "We're getting better all the time. Just as you think our football is getting better, our transfer activity is getting better."

Meanwhile, Liverpool winger Stewart Downing has urged his teammates to take out their frustrations on Chelsea at Anfield this Sunday, saying that the attacking players, including Suarez, need to sharpen up after failing to score in two successive weekends.


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