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Suarez conquering critics - Rodgers

29 Dec 2013 10:46:55

Suarez conquering critics - Rodgers

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes Luis Suarez is beginning to win over his critics with his form on the pitch after a controversial start to life in English football.

The Uruguayan joined the Reds in January 2011 and in December of that year was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

Last season he was handed another ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, meaning he did not play until September this campaign, but that has not stopped him netting 19 goals as Liverpool battle for a Champions League place.

And Rodgers, who has given his public backing to Suarez on numerous occasions, believes that form on the field is beginning to win over those who are not on the red side of Merseyside.

"He's absolutely in the right place," Rodgers told several national newspapers. "Supporters around the country are marvelling at his talent and he is gaining the understanding of the culture here.

"Throughout South America and parts of Europe it is part of the game to maybe get the referee to make a decision for you. He has recognised and realised that this is a country where honesty is very much at the forefront of the game.

"He's well on the way to being the PFA Player of the Year. Whether he gets the award or not, there certainly hasn't been a better player consistently this season and he'll be looking to continue along that vein.

"It would be a great testament to not only him but (to us) as a people as well. (When) people get knocked down, we like to see that sometimes in this country, but we're also a nation that will pick people up again, and that's something you can see in the football world with Suarez."

Rodgers was also full of praise for the way the striker, who recently penned a new long-term contract, handled himself in the wake on the Ivanovic biting incident.

"There was a lot of self-reflection and he probably thought he couldn't have gone any lower," Rodgers admitted.

"I know he was in a real bad place at the time and sometimes in life it takes you to get to that point and you have to assess it and you go one of two ways.

"In that period there were a lot of difficult moments for him but as he became closer to staying and realising he was going to be playing fairly quickly, he's been exemplary in his behaviour.

"On the pitch everyone can see the maturity and his level of performance speaks for itself."


PA

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