Lampard hails Suarez class

17 June 2014 08:17

There is no easy way to stop Luis Suarez but Frank Lampard believes England possess players capable of thwarting him in Thursday's do-or-die clash with Uruguay.

The 27-year-old enjoyed a remarkable season with Liverpool, netting 31 league goals despite missing the start of the campaign through suspension.

Suarez deservedly cleaned up at the end-of-season awards and had been expected to go on to star at the World Cup, only for knee surgery to disrupt that.

The forward's rehabilitation is going well but he was not risked against Costa Rica, instead reduced to a watching brief as Uruguay suffered a shock 3-1 loss in their Group D opener.

That defeat heightened the importance of him returning against England, who are also in desperate need of victory to keep their chances of progression alive.

Players and staff have focused on the collective rather than Suarez in the build-up, but Lampard is under no illusions as to what a danger he poses.

"He is a fantastic player," the England vice-captain said. "He was the best player in the Premier League last year, quite rightly voted for by the other players.

"We know that, it's as simple as that. There isn't some fantastic way of keeping him quiet.

"All you can do is try to prepare right, defend well individually and as a team and do as well as your can.

"Some players at that top, top level can come up with something off the cuff, which you can't call.

"But, at the same time, we've got some top-class defenders in our team that can try and stop that."

The Sao Paulo encounter is one which the Three Lions cannot afford to lose if they are to progress from Group D.

The same goes for Uruguay but, unlike their opponents, at least England come into the match relatively upbeat.

Saturday's 2-1 loss to Italy was a disappointment but one which offered hope thanks to an exciting attacking display - one which they need to replicate but secure points from on Thursday.

"I thought we started very bright, played some good attacking football," Lampard said. "There were a lot of positives out of the game, the one negative was that we didn't win it.

"Importantly now [we must] look forward, take those good points, try and keep them going and improve on them. We need to win games."

Lampard was forced to watch the Italy match from the bench - an experience he did not enjoy but one which allowed him to take a more measured view on the talk surrounding Wayne Rooney.

The England forward has come under scrutiny for his indifferent display in Manaus, with some calling for him to be dropped for the match against Uruguay.

It has seen Rooney dominate the backpages and led Lampard to air his frustrations.

"Unfortunately we do have a fixation with one player during every World Cup, ones that I've been involved in," he said.

"It's a bit frustrating when you're in a team group and that happens because we're there trying to play together - people are not selfish in this squad - trying to get results and a fixation with one player can become, rather than a debate, a bit of an agenda.

"So I do think we need to drop the agenda and look at the team, whoever plays, because the manager will pick the best team that he sees fit and whoever plays we want to win the game."

Source: PA