Writer: Gavin John Day
Date:Wednesday October 9 2013
Controversial Reds striker Luis Suarez has described skipper Steven Gerrard as the best footballer he has played with at club level...
It was a long summer for both Liverpool FC and star player Luis Suarez with the Uruguayan wanting to leave due to the team's on-field short comings and his own series of run-ins with the media and football officials.
The club's refusal to entertain selling their top asset at any cost clearly played the biggest part in his remaining at Anfield, but Suarez has revealed that captain Steven Gerrard also had an influence on the outcome.
The England midfielder revealed last week that he did all he could to convince Suarez to remain on Merseyside, admitting 'nobody tried harder than me.' It seemingly had the desired affect.
"I do not know if he prayed but what he said is what he feels because he was talking to me all the time," commented Suarez to South American newspaper El Pais yesterday.
"Gerrard, for me, is a legend in Liverpool and a great team-mate that helped me a lot.
"His attitude was an extra boost for me to take the decision to stay in Liverpool; both he and the fans of Liverpool influenced much for that.
"I admire him for the great player he is worldwide. For me he will always be a benchmark and at club level he is the best player I have played with in my career, as a person and as a footballer."
The 26-year-old missed the start of the season through suspension but has cut a noticeably more relaxed figure on the pitch since his return.
A quick fire return of three goals will have helped but Suarez also points to his family as playing a key role in the development.
"I am aware that in recent matches that I played I`ve been calmer," analysed the former Ajax man.
"I am very self-critical and I realised that playing well, with more tranquility, is helping me a lot.
"I realise and I prefer to continue and not be the same as before...
"They (family) make me think hard and calm me. Nowadays I think a lot of them when I`m on the field.
"I wanted my son to live as I do. I suffered a lot as a child and I do not want my children, or any other child, to experience the circumstances as I did.
"As a parent I try to give them all the love in the world and all the best."
Unusually, Suarez was accompanied by new-born son Benjamin and three-year-old daughter Delfina onto the pitch ahead of last weekend's home fixture with Crystal Palace.
The planned gesture, a regular occurrence in South American, was initially met with resistance by Liverpool officials but they eventually relented, not that Suarez appears to have given them much choice!
"At first club people told me I was not going to go with them but I told them that my children were going to come with me, like it or not," added last season's top scorer.
"They understood in the end and it was a nice moment, a unique moment for me."
Suarez is currently with the Uruguayan national team as they prepare for crucial World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Argentina.
His next game with the Reds, barring injury, will be at Newcastle United on October 19. Everyone connected with the club will no doubt hope this new and improved Luis Suarez is here to stay.
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Date:Wednesday October 9 2013
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