Rodgers praises Suarez’s ‘incredible appetite for the game’
Striker’s industrious leading of the line a lesson for Sturridge says Liverpool boss
Brendan Rodgers says Luis Suarez “does not get enough credit”. Photograph: Matilde Campodonico/AP
Brendan Rodgers has saluted Luis Suarez’s appetite for training after his long-haul return flight to South America for the World Cup qualifiers.
The Liverpool manager was keen to praise a side of the striker for which he “does not get enough credit” after Suarez’s alleged punch on Gonzalo Jara during Uruguay’s 2-0 defeat by Chile on Tuesday.
While Fifa is still deciding whether to take action against Suarez, Rodgers said: “I said to the staff this [Friday] morning while I stood there watching him, ‘this is why you love him as a manager’.
“He has an absolutely amazing appetite for the game. He’s not just jetting out to Spain to play the game. This is a boy who must clock up incredible air miles. As soon as he arrived in Manchester [on Thursday] we get all the players to report back so we can give them a quick medical MOT to check if they are right – he comes back in and he is back out on the training pitch again.
“Of course he looks a little bit tired after all that flying but that doesn’t stop him. He was out there working, running and chasing. He’s an amazing character. He doesn’t get enough credit for that.”
While away Suarez claimed he was misinterpreted regarding comments in which he hinted that he could leave Liverpool in the summer.
Both the striker and Liverpool have since denied he will leave. And Rodgers stressed that Suarez is in a club environment in which he can thrive.
“It’s what we all strive for, to be in an environment where you are enjoying it. The enjoyment will be seen in the performance level.
“And if you look at his performance level, it has been phenomenal,” said Rodgers.
“I have a great relationship with him; he seems happy here with his mates. And what I do know is that he wants Liverpool to succeed. It’s an environment in which he is happy and let’s hope that’s the same for many years.”
Rodgers also believes Daniel Sturridge can learn from Suarez’s industry and closing down of the opposition.
“The striker drives the train. This is where the guy leads the line,” Rodgers said. “Look at the history of this club. Look at [Ian] Rush, [Kenny] Dalglish and how hard these guys worked. The likes of Robbie [Fowler] when he was up there pressing. This club has had a No9 that works his socks off.
“Luis has been playing in the No 9 position and is a great leader. That’s where it starts, up there. Daniel has only just come into the club and it’s a new way of working for him.”