Experience of working with Luis Suarez 'will last a lifetime' says Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
The Uruguay international has already scored 20 goals this season
Friday 10 January 2014
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits the experience of working with striker Luis Suarez will last a lifetime.
The Uruguay international is in the form of his life with 20 goals already this season - all in the league - and deservedly has been named Barclays player of the month.
It was a stellar December for the 26-year-old as he became the first player in Premier League history to reach double figures in a calendar month, all the more impressive as he failed to score in three of the Reds' seven matches.
It has not all been plain sailing with Suarez for Rodgers after the player's failed attempts to manufacture a summer move but the manager believes all that is now behind them after the striker signed a new contract last month.
"The experience of working with Luis is something which will stay with me for a lifetime," Rodgers told talkSPORT.
"(Just to be able) to work with someone with that determination and desire and will to win.
"He is a real old school player in that he is never injured and he loves to train.
"When I first came in I rested him in one or two cup games and I could see he didn't like it.
"What has been brilliant about these last four or five months has been the maturity of the man.
"He obviously had issues in the summer but since the moment he decided to stay we talked him through how the club was evolving and he has been 150 per cent committed."
Rodgers believes he is well on course to deliver the requirements laid down by owner Fenway Sports Group when they appointed him in the summer of 2012.
The club are currently fourth in the table, having been top at Christmas, and with nine wins and only one defeat in 10 home league games this season are turning Anfield into the fortress it once was.
"You are always striving to be better. In terms of the job I was asked to do when I came in we are well on track for that," he added.
"In three years we were given the objective to push for the Champions League.
"We made great strides in the calendar year (of 2013) and this season was about being in the competition (contending for the top four) because no-one was talking about Liverpool.
"We are on track but when you are fourth you always want to be third, second and ultimately first."
Defender Daniel Agger has confirmed he is expected to be sidelined for a month with a calf strain.
The Denmark international sustained the injury late in Sunday's 2-0 FA Cup win over Oldham and is likely to be out for a while.
"Disappointed with my injury! But I hope to be back strong within 4 weeks! Thanks for all the supporting tweets," the centre-back wrote on Twitter.
Agger's absence is a blow as Rodgers was just starting to get players back from injury.
The Dane's unavailability will, however, be offset by the progress made by Mamadou Sakho's recovery from a hamstring strain ahead of Sunday's trip to Stoke while striker Daniel Sturridge is back in full training having been out since the end of November with a sprained ankle.
Captain Steven Gerrard played 77 minutes against Oldham to add to the half an hour he had coming off the bench against Hull four days previously to show he had fully recovered from a hamstring strain.
"Over Christmas we were unfortunate we had a number of injuries which brought the squad down to about 15 players," added Rodgers.
"Thankfully over this last week are starting to get one or two back and they are very important players for us.
"Steven came back into the fold against Oldham which was great and Daniel is back training now, which is brilliant for us."
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