Kenny Dalglish delighted with Luis Suarez return for Liverpool

 

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez's month-long enforced absence could work to his advantage over the final four months of the season, according to manager Kenny Dalglish.

Uruguay international Suarez, who has not played since Boxing Day, is set to return from an eight-match ban on Monday when Tottenham visit Anfield.

While Dalglish would have much rather had one of his key players available for the busy month of January, the side have coped well in his absence and the break could well have done the forward some good.

After helping Uruguay win the Copa America this summer, Suarez returned to Merseyside having had very little rest and no pre-season to get himself ready for the rigours of the Barclays Premier League.

Prior to suspension kicking in, the 25-year-old had started in every match apart from the second game of the season, when he came on as a substitute in the victory at Arsenal, and the fifth round Carling Cup tie at Chelsea where he remained on the bench.

Dalglish gave him a short break from training last month but will eagerly welcome back the eight-goal striker, who was only overtaken as leading scorer by Craig Bellamy in the midweek win over Wolves.

"Irrespective of what happened before, any situation you find yourself in you have to find a positive and that is what we will try to do," Dalglish said.

"It is great for everybody that we have Luis back in the squad. He's been training a couple of weeks now and he's stayed pretty fit so it is fantastic for us to have him available."

Considering his lengthy absence as a result of being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, Dalglish may well be inclined to start Suarez on the bench against Spurs.

Liverpool are in good form after reaching the Carling Cup final with an aggregate win over Manchester City, knocking Manchester United out of the FA Cup and registering a resounding win at Wolves on Tuesday.

Dalglish admits that mean there is less imperative to throw Suarez straight back in, but accepts his return poses a selection problem.

"There is a lot to be taken into consideration; the fact he's not played for over a month and more importantly how well the other players have done in his absence," added Dalglish, who confirmed captain Steven Gerrard will return on Monday having been rested against Wolves.

"It is a good thing for everybody as long the competition is quality competition. We have always said squads have good quality here and we've no reason to change that.

"For us it is a difficult job because everyone trains hard to get picked and play and someone is going to be disappointed.

"Sometimes it is hurtful when you have to leave them out, but that is the way it is. But they will never be taken for granted, they will always be treated with respect.

"It is good for us and Steven will be back so we should be pretty strong."

Gerrard, whose injury problems over the last 12 months have meant he, Suarez and Andy Carroll have yet to all start a match together and have been on the pitch at the same time for just 69 minutes, also welcomed Suarez's return.

"He has been missed and the players are looking forward to welcoming him back," he told BBC Sport. "Luis can help us achieve what we set out to achieve - finishing top four and reaching two finals.

"I'm sure he will because he's a super player. Luis has shown over the last 12 months that he's one of the best players in the world so we want these players available."

PA

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