LIVERPOOL, England – Liverpool rejected Fernando Torres' transfer request Friday as English Premier League rival Chelsea pursued the star forward.
The 26-year-old Spaniard stunned Liverpool by demanding to leave a day after a 35 million pound ($56 million) bid from Chelsea was turned down by owner John Henry.
"Fernando Torres tonight submitted a written transfer request, which has been rejected by Liverpool," a club statement said. "Fernando is under long-term contract, and the club expect him to honor the commitment he made to Liverpool FC and its supporters when he signed the agreement."
Torres joined Liverpool for a club-record 20.3 million pounds (then $40.6 million) in 2007 from Atletico Madrid. He is under contract until 2013.
Torres has struggled with injuries since returning from Spain's World Cup championship last July and his teammates have struggled to compensate for his poor form.
Liverpool is seventh in the Premier League, nine points behind Chelsea for the fourth and final Champions League spot. Before back-to-back victories, Liverpool had been closer to the relegation zone.
The written demand from Torres on Friday was the first major setback for Kenny Dalglish, who returned as manager this month to replace Roy Hodgson.
As Torres was requesting to leave, Liverpool reached a deal with Ajax for Luis Suarez, subject to the forward passing a medical examination.
The transfer fee, which could be worth up to 26.5 million pounds ($36 million), would make the Uruguayan Liverpool's most expensive signing since the club was bought by the Fenway Sports Group in October.
Liverpool has permission to discuss a contract with the 24-year-old Suarez, who has scored 111 goals in 159 matches since joining Ajax in 2007.