Luis Suarez claims 'Liverpool can qualify for Champions League'

The Uruguay international has fired the Reds into contention to finish in the top four

Striker Luis Suarez is confident Liverpool can regain their Champions League status if they maintain their current form.

The Reds are currently fourth in the table, having been top at Christmas, and are looking to secure a place in European football's elite club competition for the first time since 2009.

Suarez's form will be pivotal to their chances and, after collecting his Barclays player of the month award for a record-breaking December, he is upbeat about their chances.

The Uruguay international has scored 20 goals already this season - all in the league - with half of those coming as the 26-year-old became the first player in Premier League history to reach double figures in a calendar month.

"It's so important when you work hard on the pitch and they recognise it when you win these prizes," Suarez told Sky Sports News.

"On the pitch I try to help Liverpool and I try to help the squad, and I think for confidence it is very good.

"If Liverpool continue at this level we can finish in the top four, which we want."

Manager Brendan Rodgers admits the experience of working with Suarez will last a lifetime.

It has not all been plain sailing 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.

With nine wins and only one defeat in 10 home league games this season, the club 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," the manager said.

"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 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," said Rodgers.

"Thankfully over this last week we are starting to get one or two back and they are very important players for us.

"Steven (Gerrard) came back into the fold against Oldham, which was great, and Daniel is back training now, which is brilliant for us."

 

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing