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Rodgers ready for Suarez lift

19 Sep 2013 19:16:58

Rodgers ready for Suarez lift

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hopes the "massive lift" the impending return of suspended striker Luis Suarez will bring can offset the loss of creative midfielder Philippe Coutinho.

The 21-year-old Brazilian on Thursday had surgery on a shoulder injury sustained in Monday's draw at Swansea and is expected to be sidelined until the end of October.

Suarez's 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic will end after the visit of Southampton this weekend and the Uruguay international will go straight into contention for a potentially-explosive Capital One Cup tie at Manchester United on Wednesday.

With Coutinho having provided much of the Reds' attacking invention in an unbeaten league run, spanning two seasons, of 12 matches the Reds should have a ready-made substitute raring to go.

"He (Suarez) has just been working hard and he has done some games behind closed doors," said Rodgers.

"He serves the last of his ban at the weekend and we will talk more next week when he's available.

"Any team from next week on, once he is available, will be a massive lift."

The loss of Coutinho will impact on Liverpool to some degree as the playmaker has been at the heart of much of their best attacking play both this season and towards the end of last.

He is highly rated by Rodgers, who signed him from Inter Milan for £8.5million in January, and although the manager is confident he can find someone to play in his place it is unlikely to be a like-for-like replacement.

"Obviously Philippe is one of the best number 10s in the league; how he plays in between the lines, how he finds space on the back of the midfield players, his incisive passing and the weight of his passing is exceptional," said the Reds boss.


PA

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