Premier League

Suarez hails importance of Liverpool spell

Barcelona star Luis Suarez has underlined the importance of his time at Liverpool and believes he reached another level at Anfield.

The Uruguay international enjoyed a successful spell on Merseyside between 2011 and 2014, before making the move to Camp Nou.

He has since developed into a key figure at Barcelona, but doubts he would be playing at the same standard without his time in the Premier League.

“Liverpool turned me [into] a player of a different level,” Suarez told ESPN. “A player like [former Liverpool captain Steven] Gerrard, he was so motivating the way he played. I learned so much from him.

“You went in there and you were transformed. They never gave up. The fans [were] so motivating. The stadium was always full. It made me grow as a player, I matured, my play improved technically.”

Suarez expressed his gratitude to former Reds boss Kenny Dalglish, who stood by the trouble-prone forward when he was accused of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in October 2011.

“Kenny Dalglish changed me … what he did for me at Liverpool, for the way he was. He even compared me to him. He supported me in that moment of racism, he defended me because he believed in me. And I am grateful to him.”

Suarez started his career with Nacional in his native Uruguay before joining Eredivisie side Groningen in 2006 and he was full of praise for the way his coaches at his first two clubs mentored him.

“Well, first, of course, [former Nacional coach] Martin Lasarte, who gave me the chance to debut, deserves credit for my development,” he said.

“There were people who said I was never going to score a goal against anyone and he kept supporting me and gave me the chance to play. I am very grateful because that is very difficult, it was Uruguay and I was only 18. His support at that time was incredible and very important.

“Then coaches like I had at Groningen who incentivised me have a winning attitude and [showing] it. They told me all these things, you have to watch what you eat, watch your weight, train harder, you have to show what you can do.”

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