Premier League

Reds must beat Spurs - Suarez

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Sat, 09 Mar 2013 10:15:00

Injuries to Giampaolo Pazzini and Philippe Mexes marred AC Milan's 2-0 win at Genoa in Serie A on Friday night.

Milan warmed up for the second leg of their Champions League showdown with Barcelona by winning at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris but coach Massimiliano Allegri was left with fitness concerns after playing the final 25 minutes with 10 men and watching two players go off with injuries.

Pazzini was already hobbling when he scored the 22nd-minute opener, and was soon replaced by Mario Balotelli who went on to double the lead on the hour mark.

Five minutes later, Kevin Constant saw red to leave his side short-handed, while fellow defender Mexes had been replaced at half-time due to a niggle.

"We were up against a team that caused us problems," Allegri said. "It was a competitive game and we fought well. For the sending off we had to burn more energy than we should have.

"It's a good result. We have a good league position now and we hope to keep that until the end of the campaign. We could have avoided the red card but these things happen."

Allegri added that he could not yet be sure if Pazzini and Mexes would be available for Tuesday night's trip to the Nou Camp, but warned his team they will need to be at their best regardless of their 2-0 advantage from the home leg.

"On Tuesday, we're up against the best team in the world," he said. "We're ahead, but it's still the last 16. If we play as well as we did at the San Siro and if we're a bit lucky we'll get through."

Defender Ignazio Abate said the players understand their job ahead of a huge night for the club.

"We're calm going into the game against Barcelona," he said. "They're favourites, no one was expecting the two goal lead but we can't let it get to our heads."

The Reds trail fourth-placed Chelsea by 10 points ahead of this weekend's fixtures, and although the chance of making up the ground looks improbable in the final 10 matches, the Uruguay international has not given up.

Suarez knows, however, they have to beat third-placed Spurs at Anfield if they are to stand a chance.

"We've been in good form recently and it's a good opportunity to reduce the gap between ourselves and Spurs," said Suarez, leading scorer in the Premier League with 21 goals.

"There is a slight chance we can make Champions League football - and if we want to do that, this is the sort of game we need to win."

Suarez goes looking for his 50th Liverpool goal on his 91st appearance, and while he has been the team's outstanding player by netting 28 times across all competitions this season he is keen to share the praise.

"You have to work hard as a striker to get into the right positions and anticipate situations - that's important, too," Suarez told Liverpool's official website.

"It's also evidence the team are working well and moving in the right direction as a whole - but at the same time, it is nice as a player to receive personal recognition because it means you're doing a good job."

The arrival of ?12million striker Daniel Sturridge, who has scored five goals in seven matches, and Brazil forward Philippe Coutinho in January has given the side a boost.

Suarez and Sturridge, in particular, have struck up a successful partnership instantaneously.

"Things have been going really well with Daniel, but not only him - there's also Philippe," added the Uruguayan.

"They have both brought something and maybe given us an extra cutting edge.

"They are players who can make a difference in a game, so it's been nice to link up with them.

"The lads who were here before their arrival were doing a fantastic job, but now we have more options as a team."

Manager Brendan Rodgers believes Suarez can break Robbie Fowler's Liverpool record of 28 goals in a Premier League campaign as he closes in on becoming only the second player in the last 16 seasons, after Fernando Torres in 2007-08, to score 30 for the club across all competitions in a campaign.

"The thing with Luis is he is really hungry and I would expect him over these last 10 games to go close to it (Fowler's record)," said the manager.

"He is on 21 goals now and with 10 to go there will be more from him and if there is not what you know is he will give 150% on the field and won't give any defenders a moment's rest.

"He is a master marksman who has been really efficient this season but we are not a one-man team as that is disrespectful to our other players who have been outstanding."

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