Luis Suarez says 'it's very important I'm back' and vows to give his all after returning for Liverpool
Returning Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has pledged to do his best to help the club which less than two months ago he appeared determined to leave.
The Uruguay international made his first appearance for the Reds in the 1-0 Capital One Cup defeat against Manchester United since being banned for 10 matches for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic - and he appeared fully committed to the cause.
That was in contrast to his attitude early last month when, in the wake of a £40,000,001 bid from Arsenal - which they thought would trigger a release clause - he claimed manager Brendan Rodgers and the club had reneged on a deal to allow him to leave for a side competing in the Champions League.
Principal owner John Henry waded into the matter by insisting the player would not be sold at any price and the Merseysiders kept hold of their prize asset when the transfer window closed.
"The result is not good because we lost but the feeling is good because we played very well, we created chances and we missed," he told liverpoolfc.com.
"I know it was a difficult moment but for myself and for the team it's very important I'm back because I can help the team and [being] off the pitch I can't.
"We'll keep going for the week and for the next game.
"All the time I try my best on the pitch. I'm here to help the team and help Liverpool and I'll try my best."
The 26-year-old's touch understandably looked rusty after so long on the sidelines and he appeared to be lacking the confidence to really attack players and shoot, opting on many occasions to try to pick out a team-mate when he got into dangerous areas.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has no doubt, however, that it will not take Suarez long to get back among the goals just like before his ban, when he scored 17 goals in 21 games.
"Considering he had been out for such a long time he ran himself into the ground, he was always a threat, he put defenders on the back foot with a couple of twists and as he goes on he will get a bit sharper.
"Overall he can be really pleased and I was really happy for him because his contribution was brilliant.
"He has worked very hard. He obviously tired a bit towards the end but the only way he is going to get that (fitness) is playing in games.
"But even in the last moments of the game he can still create, distract defenders and open up the space."
Rodgers also saw it as an opportunity for the 26-year-old to repay the fans after a testing few months in which he tried to manufacture a summer transfer.
"The support they have given him is unheralded. They were brilliant towards him, he has given them everything," he said.
"He was clapping to the crowd before the match started so he recognises everything they have given him.
"Now he has got to get his head down and give them that great talent he has and hopefully it will end up in goals for him."
Luis Suarez focus: How did the Liverpool striker perform on his return?
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez made his comeback from his 10-match ban in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Capital One Cup.
Here we take a look at how he did in his first competitive club match since April.
Understandably looked a bit rusty early on and on a couple of occasions was not even looking when a team-mate passed to him and his close control was lacking.
After a difficult few months, including trying to manufacture a transfer, some questioned whether he would be mentally up for the fight. Played the full 90 minutes, probably not at 100 per cent, but determination was never in doubt. Visibly angry when a late free-kick hit the wall and remained competitive to the end, fairly barging Jonny Evans off the ball to set up late chance.
Strangely reluctant to dribble and shoot as much as he had last season and over-complicated things in the penalty area when trying to involve other players. Shot over from tight angle in first half when he would normally have taken on defenders.
Encouraging re-introduction to the side but could have done with a bit more help from striker partner Daniel Sturridge as the burden seemed to be on the Uruguayan to create and score. However, did not look like his lengthy absence had left him that far off the pace and he should be up to speed fairly quickly.