Brendan Rodgers happy Luis Suarez dispute ‘resolved’
Manager says performance in 1-0 win over Stoke at Anfield was ‘outstanding’
Liverpool’s goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is congratulated by teammates after a double save at Anfield. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saves a penalty from Stoke City’s Jonathan Walters at Anfield. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists he is satisfied with how the situation with Luis Suarez has been “resolved”. The Uruguay international returned to training with the first-team on Friday having been exiled for more than a week after criticising the Reds boss, who said his attitude and performances had not been up to standard.
Suarez claimed the club had reneged on a deal agreed last summer to allow him to leave if a Champions League club came in for him, with Arsenal having had two bids for him rejected.
“I am satisfied with how everything has been resolved and we as a club are looking to the future,” said Rodgers after Liverpool’s season-opneing 1-0 win over Stoke at Anfield. He refused to confirm whether the player had apologised as he said he would have to in order to be reintegrated. “There is nothing to be said there. I won’t be saying anything on Luis Suarez and that is only purely out of respect for the (other) players.”
Suarez is still suspended for a further six matches for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April, but he was at Anfield Daniel Sturridge’s strike and a last minute penalty save from Simon Mignolet seal a deserved win for the homeside.
His pre-match walk around the pitch’s perimeter brought muted applause and not the rapturous welcome he had received when he played in Steven Gerrard’s testimonial a fortnight ago at Anfield. “He is a part of our team and club and the supporters are a class act here,” added Rodgers.
Rodgers described his side’s performance today as “outstanding”, but admitted a slight concern over the amount of chances his side wasted.
The hosts had dominated throughout but had only Sturridge’s goal to show for their efforts when Daniel Agger handled former Reds midfielder Charlie Adam’s free-kick three minutes from time. Walters fired low to Mignolet’s right but the Belgium international reached that and substitute Kenwyne Jones’s follow-up to get his Liverpool career off to the best possible start following a €10 million move from Sunderland.
“We bought him because he is a top, top goalkeeper and he had three saves to make in total,” Rodgers told BT Sports 1. “We rate him highly. I thought overall our performance was outstanding.”
The manager was a little worried how many chances went abegging for the homeside.
He said: “It’s always a concern as a manager when you dominate the game so much and create so many chances but today we only scored one. I was so, so pleased for the players because they have worked tirelessly and (that) starts our actual season on three points.
“The fluidity and flow of our game was good, our passing and combination play was excellent. I thought our intensity from the off was outstanding.”
Mignolet was delighted with his contribution.
“You always pick the corner to go to and today I picked the right one,” he said. “I kept a clean sheet which is the important thing. Today it worked, I am really pleased with it. We didn’t manage to get a second goal but we deserved to win.”
His opposite number Asmir Begovic underlined his quality when producing a series of saves to thwart the Reds. He was given the man-of-the-match award although he admitted admitted that mattered little, given the result.
“It doesn’t mean a lot when you can’t get a result,” the Bosnian said. “We put in a decent performance and should have got something out of the game. The spirit was there and we kept digging in and we caused a lot of problems in the end. We are being positive to take stuff out of the game and kick on next week.”
Of Mignolet, he added: “That was a fantastic save, Simon is a top-quality keeper and I am sure he will do well for Liverpool.”