Arsenal vs Liverpool Review – Brendan Rodgers Praises Suarez

Brendan Rodgers believes his hard-line stance towards Luis Suarez not only stopped Liverpool FC from imploding… but made their Uruguayan striker an even bigger star.

Suarez could so easily have been playing against the Anfield giants for Arsenal in Saturday’s first vs third match, after trying – extensively and desperately – to engineer a summer move to
the Gunners.

Instead, he heads to the top-of-the-table shoot-out at the Emirates as a visiting player, in the best form of his life and, according to his manager, as a more mature and better-developed footballer.

And Rodgers is convinced that is all because he gave the 26-year-old a massive wake-up call by kicking him out of his squad and banished him to train alone – to stop his discontent spreading through the entire team.

“As we said at the time, no one was going to be bigger than the club. And we had the opportunity to show that the status and the power of Liverpool is greater than anyone,” the manager explained.

“But you have to give Luis huge credit as well. Probably, many players would not have reacted as he has done, yet you can see in his game he has matured.

“You learn from any tough period in your life and reflect on it, and I think that’s happened. He eventually accepted the ­situation, got back to his work, rejoined his team-mates and has been outstanding since then.

“I see an improvement in his game and a maturity in his overall personality.

“He’s a player who operates on instinct and I think his personality is like that too.

“When some big clubs in European football supposedly want you, it can maybe turn your head. But he accepted this was where he was going to be very quickly, and from that moment he has been first class.

“You can see he has matured.”

What is most remarkable about Suarez is that, far from sulking, he has returned from his latest FA ban as an even better player.

He has scored a stunning six goals in four league games since coming back from a 10-game suspension for biting ­Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic during a match in April.


Even more impressive, though, is that Liverpool were never distracted by the circus which surrounded Suarez in the summer.

Rodgers believes that happened because the club showed they are still a worldwide institution and far bigger than any one player.

“As a manager the job is about managing ­individuals, but you have got to protect the club and that’s what I did,” he said.

“I’m sure the senior players, indeed all the players, are looking to the manager in a situation like that to see what happens. It cannot fester and become a cancer within the group.

“No matter how difficult the situation, we were leading up to our first game after a ­brilliant pre-season and nothing could be allowed to stand in the way.

“Yes, maybe a lot of clubs would have let him leave, but not every club is Liverpool. It was important that the power and the size of the club was seen. That’s what we did.”

Liverpool also dismissed Arsenal’s pursuit of Suarez, which created some bad blood between the two clubs – ­especially over the Gunners’ now infamous £40million plus one pound bid, which Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger now regrets.

And Rodgers explained that the Reds always saw that offer as a joke, not a threat:

“To be honest, we laughed. We were away at the time on the pre-season tour when I saw the bid in writing.

“I think Arsenal were ill-advised on that. As a club they’ve always had great integrity so, when that bid came through, I can only say it was one of the worst pieces of information they ever received. It was never going to succeed. We certainly saw the bid as derogatory.

“How much would I value him at now? Just over that one pound!!”

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