Rodgers: Dazzling Suarez is driven on by cheat slurs and won't be forced out of Liverpool
18:13 GMT, 30 October 2012
Brendan Rodgers has dismissed fears striker Luis Suarez will be forced to quit Liverpool and says he is strong enough to cope with the fury of rival fans and managers.
Rodgers spoke out in defence of his star striker and reckons the diving controversy drives him on to be a better player.
'I think he loves playing in English football,' said Rodgers. 'I
speak with Luis regularly and he loves the passion and excitement of the
game over here.
'What he is is a player who is mentally very strong – as you can see from his time here the amount of stick he has taken. It is actually a driver for him. It really motivates him and he loves being at Liverpool.'
Suarez celebrates the opening goal against Everton with a dive in front of Everton manager David Moyes
The Uruguay forward was again at the centre of controversy, despite a brilliant performance against Everton in the Merseyside derby.
He was banned for eight matches last season after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra while the focus this campaign has been on his perceived diving.
Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge expressed his concern the
25-year-old could walk away from the club because of the hard time he
gets from opposition managers and supporters but Rodgers rejected that.
'He loves the city, the club and the supporters so I can't see that him being forced away.'
Suarez answered his critics, and more pertinently David Moyes with a sarcastic dive at the Everton manager's feet after his deflected shot brought the opening goal in Sunday's derby draw.
Rodgers has been impressed by the way the South American has shouldered the burden of being the club's only fit senior striker and insists it is an privilege to coach him.
Suarez is on the way down after being challenged by Sylvain Distin of Everton
'I thought he was outstanding (against Everton). He is a breath of fresh air with his enthusiasm,' added the Northern Irishman.
'He is our only fit senior striker here and he was tireless against Reading and then we had to play a strong team against Anzi (in the Europa League).
'People maybe thought the condition of the team and Luis in particular would waver but the condition of the group, and particularly Luis up front, was amazing.
'He is a wonderful talent who will always provoke comments both positive and negative but the bottom line is he is a fantastic player.
'He scores goals and his goals to games ratio this season is fantastic.
'He is really inspirational for the group because he works hard every day and he is quality at that top end of the field: he genuinely is a world-class striker.
'It is a privilege to work with a player of that quality every day.'
Suarez of Liverpool celebrates with Martin Skrtel after scoring Liverpool's second goal against Everton
Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers enjoys coaching and working with Suarez
After three tough games Suarez is likely to be given the night off tomorrow when Rodgers' former club Swansea visit in the Capital One Cup.
Rodgers intends to pay every respect to the club he left in the summer, insisting the close relationship he had with Swans chairman Huw Jenkins remains strong and that actually helped when he went back to buy midfielder Joe Allen.
'It improved the Allen deal as I was able to speak to Huw and ask if there was a market for Joe and he came back to me and told me there was a possibility he could be sold,' said Rodgers.
'We became close both professionally and personally there and our relationship is still strong.
'Leaving there was sad but I knew I was coming to one of the biggest clubs in the world.
'I always like to leave on good terms. There is no problem there. But we want to get through and nothing will get in the way of that.'