Premier League

Rodgers says Suarez at his happiest

Luis Suarez (R) enjoys a moment in training with Liverpool colleague Victor Moses.
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Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is "as happy as he's ever been" following the Premier League club's impressive start to the season, according to Anfield manager Brendan Rodgers.

The situation was markedly different in the summer when - in the light of a bid in excess of £40m from Arsenal - the Uruguay international claimed the club had reneged on a deal which would allow him to join a side playing in the UEFA Champions League.

However, a promising start to the season sees the Reds in third, behind Chelsea only on goal difference, and Suarez has contributed significantly already after returning from suspension, scoring six times in five league matches.

Earlier in the week, captain Steven Gerrard said he thought the 26-year-old would reconsider his position at the end of the campaign depending on whether the club had qualified for the Champions League.

But Rodgers has always insisted he has had nothing but commitment from the striker.

"I haven't been given anything to the contrary," he said. "Looking and speaking to him Luis is as happy as he has ever been.

"He recognises we have a real genuine chance this year of breaking in there (the top four) this year. Last year was about transition and the second season was about improvement and he has seen that.

"He had a difficult summer but he has come back and he is more mature and his performance level has been really high. He sees a genuine chance for us to make that (top four). He is happy here.

"From a club perspective, we made a stance last summer, not only for Luis but for every player. If we think it is time to sell a player, we will. If not we won't."

While the impact of Suarez and Daniel Sturridge has not been in doubt this season, Liverpool's midfield were criticised for being too pedestrian in the defeat at Arsenal last weekend.

Critics were quick to point out the 33-year-old Gerrard appeared to have little influence on the game from a passing or running point of view while speed has never been an attribute Lucas has been blessed with.

While Rodgers did not exactly dismiss suggestions his midfield lacked the necessary speed, he did counter the argument.

"We have got very good players and in that game Arsenal had outstanding ability," he added.

"In fairness to Steven and Lucas, they worked very hard. Steven picked up an injury (to his hip) and struggled in that part of the game because of that.

"There's no doubt in the modern game you have to have that mobility in midfield but you also need the balance. You also need players who are technically good, can play and can participate in the game tactically and of course the modern game gets quicker every year.

"That is an area you need mobility in and for us, going forward, it is something, as with every area, we will try to improve."

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