There's Messi and Ronaldo, then there's Suarez: Comolli puts Liverpool striker up there with world's best
09:18 GMT, 14 December 2012
Liverpool hitman Luis Suarez is only behind the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in world football, according to Damien Comolli.
The club’s former director of football believes that Suarez’s ability to both score and create goals puts him up there with the world's best.
Comolli oversaw the 22million signing of Suarez from Ajax, as well as the 35million deal for Andy Carroll from Newcastle before his departure from Liverpool earlier this year.
Up there with the best: Damien Comolli believes Luis Suarez (left) is in the bracket below Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
The Uruguayan striker has been in exceptional form this season. The 25-year-old is the joint third top goalscorer in the Premier League (alongside Manchester United’s Robin van Persie) with 10 goals.
But Comolli believes Suarez isn’t too far behind Messi, who has scored a record 88 goals this calendar year for Barcelona, and Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo.
Comolli told The Times: ‘Suarez is in a group of players behind Messi and Ronaldo. If you take those two out of the frame and think of how much we could have got for him then he is in that second group of players.
‘He is a top player, a top person. It is rare to see someone who creates as much as he does and scores as many as he does.
‘When we signed him I said he is a 15 to 18-goals-a-season player in the Premier League, but then he will give you so much more in terms of what he creates.’
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes last weekend provided a 'defining moment' which shows his side can compete with the best.
Trailing 2-1 to West Ham, having been a goal up, the Reds scored twice in the last 14 minutes to secure their first back-to-back Barclays Premier League wins for almost a year.
Sandwiched between was a crucial 1-0 victory over Udinese which ensured their passage into to the knockout stage of the Europa League and Rodgers sees progress.
'We reached another defining moment at the weekend against West Ham,' he said.
A class apart Messi (right) has scored a record 88 goals in 2012
Superstar: Ronaldo left Manchester United for Real Madrid for a staggering 82million in 2009
'There's a golden period at the end of a game – the last 15 minutes – which the best teams can affect.
'When we were down we showed the spirit and fight we have in the group to come back and win the game.
'We showed that away at Udinese – to get through in a game that we had to win.
'The pressure on that game was that we had to win or get knocked out and we won the game and kept a clean sheet.
'We have little benchmarks that we're setting along the way. The best teams start quick and finish strong – we did that at the weekend.
'I'm pleased with how it's evolving – we're a long way off where I want us to be, of course, but we've shown we're making good progress.
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In action: Suarez has been prolific for Liverpool this season
'I hope that we finish this year strongly,' he added.
'We can then go into the next six months and push on, because that's when you take care of business and in particular the last 10 games.
'If we can arrive in January in and around that top four then we can really put our foot to the floor, when the confidence will be improved even more and players will be aligned with what we're trying to achieve.
'I believe we can have a good second half of the season.'
Getting better: Brendan Rodgers believes his Liverpool side have improved recently
Goalkeeper Brad Jones has signed a new contract after admitting he did not know whether he had a future at the start of the season.
However, having ably filled in for a month when Jose Reina was injured the Australia international has earned an extended stay – and the backing of Rodgers.
'When he came in I don't think he was too sure about whether I was going to stay or not and I had to prove to him I was worthy of being here,' Jones told liverpoolfc.com.
'He was very honest with me at the start and said maybe things weren't going to work out.
'But he was then just as honest to come and say to me I'd done well and proved myself to him.'