Tottenham v Liverpool: Luis Suarez is like no other according to team-mate Glen Johnson

Suarez's determination to win at all costs singles him out from the rest says the England right-back

Liverpool defender Glen Johnson admits he has never encountered anyone in football with a will to win like Luis Suarez.

The Reds striker has scored 15 times this season in a series of stellar displays and leads Manchester City's Sergio Aguero by three in the race to be the Barclays Premier League's top scorer.

The Uruguay international's goals have come from just 10 appearances, after his 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last season was carried over into the start of this campaign.

Suarez has never been too far from controversy throughout his career - Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers often refers to the 26-year-old playing "on the edge" - but Johnson believes that fighting spirit is what makes Suarez so effective.

"I've not known anyone like him in terms of living on the edge and wanting to win so badly," Johnson told Press Association Sport.

"There is a fine line and that is probably why some people get frustrated when things aren't going their way - sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes it's not such a good thing."

Suarez's controversial past makes him an easy target for opposition fans, but this season has seen the striker improve his focus and control his aggression - one booking in 11 appearances so far is testament to that.

He may never win over his harshest critics but some of the goals he has scored - including some supreme strikes in his four-goal haul against Norwich last week - can at least be appreciated by the wider public.

"Obviously he had a few little mistakes - outbursts - on the pitch but nine times out of 10 he is perfectly normal and that is what we are seeing now," added Johnson.

"Providing things don't stir up again you are seeing what we see every day now."

Johnson said Suarez's value to Liverpool could not be measured in purely financial terms and in that respect was echoing the sentiments of owner John Henry, who stressed in August there was no possible way he could countenance selling to one of the club's main rivals amid interest from Arsenal.

"Usually some owners will say that to push the price up but John Henry said that and stuck by his guns," said the England defender.

"I think that was great and if we want to get the club back to where it belongs we need all our best players.

"He is clearly a massive player for us and some of the goals he has scored have been laughable."

With Daniel Sturridge (nine league goals) and Steven Gerrard (three) both injured for the trip to Tottenham, Liverpool suddenly look over-reliant on the scoring threat of Suarez.

Their next highest scorer - discounting three own goals - has just one. Johnson is confident, however, that the rest of the squad can step up in the absence of Sturridge and Gerrard.

"We've not dropped outside the top four once and Luis didn't play for the first five weeks," he said.

"That is another sign that the squad is brilliant. We need Luis to play and continue this form but we have a good squad, it is not just all about Luis.

"Clearly we want to be getting goals from set-pieces, goals from midfielders, everyone chipping in, you can't just lean on one person."

The clash at White Hart Lane is billed as one between top-four rivals but not necessarily title contenders. However, Johnson believes the Reds, who began the weekend in second place, five points behind Arsenal, should have higher aspirations.

"Both clubs are fighting to be in the top four. It doesn't mean we are happy to stay fourth - top four is the minimum," he said.

"People are entitled to think what they like about what teams will do well but I've always been confident because we have some great players here and a good squad.

"Last season we were only a bit of luck away from doing what we are doing this season in terms of we absolutely battered teams and ended up drawing 0-0 too may times.

"At the moment the goals are going in so we are getting the points.

"I guess people are saying we're not title contenders because we haven't been that for the last couple of seasons.

"But we have a different team and squad and we are clearly fighting for the title.

"If that happens every week then we will be proving a lot of people wrong."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness