Gerrard confident that Suarez will stay on at Anfield
Liverpool captain says banned striker will want to make it up to team-mates and fans
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes Luis Suarez will stay at the club once his ban is completed. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
The Uruguay international sits out this weekend’s Merseyside derby as he serves the second match of his lengthy suspension — likely to keep him out until late September — for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.
That punishment increased speculation the 26-year-old would look to leave England in the summer but Gerrard sees it differently.
“Luis has done the right thing by apologising and taking his medicine,” said the England captain, who confirmed he will need an operation on a troublesome shoulder injury this summer which is likely to rule him out of the friendly internationals against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil.
“He’s really unhappy he can’t help the team, and he was really down when the ban came through. But once he is back from his ban we will be the ones that benefit.
“Luis will want to make it up to the club and the team that he has been out for so long. He will be desperate to atone for that.
“I don’t think that what’s happened to Luis will affect him much in terms of his future.
“Maybe one day we will have to accept that Luis wants to move on, and that will be his decision. But I don’t see any signs of it at the moment. Luis has been really happy here at Liverpool and he seems settled here. I don’t see him wanting to leave right now.”
While Liverpool were over-reliant on Suarez in the first half of the season, Sturridge’s arrival in January helped spread the load, especially as Fabio Borini was ruled out for more than two months with a dislocated shoulder in February.
However, Gerrard knows they will have to strengthen further up front in the summer.
“It would be a disservice to Luis to say that we can cope without him, but it would then be disrespectful to my team-mates to say that we can’t,” he told the Liverpool Daily Post.
“In an ideal world we’d have him available because he makes the team a lot stronger. He’s had a phenomenal season.
“But I have a lot of confidence and belief in the squad of players we have got. We can cope without Luis until the end of the season.
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know we still need another striker.
“You look at top teams in Europe and at United, City and Chelsea, and they all have three or four top strikers.
“That’s something we haven’t had. We had one until January.
“Then Sturridge came in and we have two. In my opinion, to compete at the top we need to have three or four strikers.”
Gerrard will look to maintain his record of playing in every Premier League match this season but his chances of becoming one of the few players to feature in every minute of the campaign were dashed by his substitution last weekend.
There has been some confusion over whether the midfielder would require surgery to correct a troublesome shoulder problem and, although manager Brendan Rodgers said no decision had been made, the player himself is fairly certain.
“It was me signalling to the bench to come off,” Gerrard said about last week’s substitution.
“I felt a jolt in my shoulder and at 4-0 up I didn’t want to take the risk. It will need an operation in the summer.”