Suarez is big-game player - Rodgers

06 February 2014 05:16

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists Luis Suarez does influence the big games and, together with fellow striker Daniel Sturridge, can break a club goalscoring record this season.

The Uruguay international has scored 23 Barclays Premier League goals this campaign but none have come in matches against Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City - the three sides above them in the table.

Sixteen of his goals have come at Anfield and with those sides all yet to visit, starting with the Gunners on Saturday, he has chance to rectify the situation.

"I think he has made an impact; he may just not have scored but he certainly scored in those games last season," said Rodgers.

"He makes a great contribution to the team but the onus is not always on Luis to score the goals, it is the team.

"As long as he does his best and works hard I'll have no complaints with that."

Suarez and Sturridge have 37 league goals between them in 35 appearances and seem certain to smash Liverpool's previous best of 42 in the Premier League set by Robbie Fowler (28) and Stan Collymore (14) in 1995-96.

The target would then be the 52 plundered by Roger Hunt (31) and Ian St John (21) in 1963-64.

"I think they can better that but my only focus is for the team," added Rodgers.

"They are both different types of players and I wouldn't say they are a partnership.

"They both have a goalscoring mentality and they both arrive in the same area but the way they get there is different.

"They have different qualities but they are both prolific goalscorers and as long as they continue to do that we are looking for other players to chip in."

Rodgers will need both his strikers on top form for the remainder of the season if they are to secure a top-four place and a return to the Champions League.

The Reds boss knows his squad is still short of being in contention for the title and, although they are currently eight points behind leaders Arsenal, victory over the league leaders would significantly cut that deficit.

"I think we will need to strengthen the overall squad and look introducing more quality but that is only natural," was Rodgers' assessment of what was required before they could mount a title challenge.

"We will just look to continue to develop the squad and when we do that I think we can be that.

"Top four is the objective and the position we've been all season means we are up there fighting.

"If we win the game we go to 50 points, five behind Arsenal, and so for us it is a big game.

"In the big games the bigger they are the better we have played although, funnily enough, at the Emirates we were not at our best.

"Maybe people weren't expecting us to be where we are at this stage of the development of the team but these types of games provide the opportunity to allow you to make even more of a statement.

"There are only 14 games to go so every game is critical now and every team will look at their rivals when they play them and see if they can take points off them."

In the last 10 years Liverpool's 60 points in 2003-04 is the lowest tally which has resulted in Champions League qualification but the general average is around the 68-mark.

In terms of what he thinks will be required to guarantee a top-four spot Rodgers added: "I have an idea.

"If you look at the trend over the course of the last number of seasons you get a rough estimate of what points total you need.

"But for us it is just about going into the next game, never getting too far ahead and thinking of games further down the line.

"But significantly if we can win our home games we will be there or thereabouts."

While none of his injured players will be available, Rodgers is optimistic defenders Daniel Agger (calf) and Glen Johnson (ankle) will be back next week.

"Daniel Agger hopefully will be back next week at some stage but (Mamadou) Sakho will be out for a little bit," he said.

"Glen Johnson is making a great recovery and there might be a point towards the end of next week (when he returns)."

Source: PA