Rodgers hails strike partnership

Cardiff owner Vincent Tan says there is no chance of the club
changing their name to the Cardiff Dragons.

The Malaysian billionaire has already made the controversial
decision to change the club’s colours from blue to red and has also
installed a new crest.

And, with Cardiff eight points clear at the top of the
Championship, it has been suggested that promotion to the top
flight might spark further rebranding.

Asked in a BBC programme whether a name change to Cardiff
Dragons was possible, Tan said: “When we know the final result of
this season, then we will think what’s the best way to brand
it.

“When we get there we’ll make a decision and, when we make a
decision, we will convey it to everyone.”

However, the prospect of a possible name change caused anger
among Cardiff fans and Tan has now issued a statement saying it is
not a possibility after all.

“I can assure all supporters that we will not be changing our
name from Cardiff City Football Club, a club I am very proud to be
a part of,” he said.

“Our name is our identity and remains at our core. I would not
want any of our supporters to be concerned that this change would
be made, hoping that this personal commitment from myself removes
any fears.

“I believe the colour change is positive and will bring good
tidings to Cardiff City Football Club. At this point of time, no
decision has been made to change the club crest for the next
season.

“For the present day, all I would ask is that we all join
together, continuing your excellent support at what is a critical
juncture in our season.

“Our collective aim is to back (manager) Malky Mackay and his
team as they work hard to bring us all success. Working together we
can achieve great things in the name of Cardiff City Football
Club.”

Suarez has scored 25 goals this season, 18 of which have come in
the league, to put him one behind of Manchester United’s Robin van
Persie and three ahead of Tottenham’s Gareth Bale – fellow
contenders for this season’s star man award.

The Uruguay forward is two away from becoming the first
Liverpool player to score 20 league goals in a campaign since
Fernando Torres five seasons ago.

Suarez will start his 90th match for the Reds against Wigan on
Saturday and Rodgers believes the player’s recent record compares
to the best.

In his first 45 games Suarez managed just 16 goals, but has
scored 30 in his last 44 appearances, which debunks the claim the
striker is not prolific enough.

Asked who he would pick as player of the year, Rodgers, like
Reds midfielder Lucas Leiva, was quick to name Suarez.

“I couldn’t look much further than Luis Suarez,” he said.

“He has been phenomenal – that is not just an opinion as his
manager.

“If I look across the board this is a guy who had to play alone
up front because he was the only striker we had for nearly six
months and never missed a day’s training and played every minute of
every game.

“His performances have spoken for themselves. There’s many great
players in this league but for me he has been absolutely
outstanding.”

The goalscoring burden on Suarez has been eased by last month’s
?12million signing of Sturridge, who should he score at the weekend
will reach five Premier League goals in six matches.

Rodgers thinks the strike duo’s partnership, which has blossomed
incredibly quickly, will make a difference to Liverpool in the
final three months of the campaign.

“They are two top players but they have got different qualities
and different strengths,” he added.

“You have seen Luis’ all season – his cleverness and his
movement and his intensity in his game.

“When I came in everyone was talking about his finishing, how
many chances he missed and whatnot but you look at his conversion
rate this year, his chances and the goals he has put away, he has
been brilliant.

“He is a terrific focal point for the team.

“Daniel is a different type. He is hungry for goals, wants to
play on the shoulder and his movement is really good.

“People will associate him with pace and power and running
ability and shooing ability but when both of them play in and
around each other, they find space really well.

“With Daniel, you have got that possibility to play in behind
and penetrate and go over the top and in between and when he is
away he is very hard to catch because he is so fast.

“They are a real potent threat so that partnership and that
cohesion is growing all the time and it is pleasing to see.”

With the likes of Chelsea faltering and Arsenal and Everton
failing to put down a definitive marker for the final Champions
League qualification place, there is still an outside possibility a
late run could lift the Reds into contention.

Rodgers, however, knows the pitfalls of talking up a top-four
challenge.

“We have got 11 games to go and our only focus is on ourselves –
we just look at our next game,” he said.

“Especially how the season has gone for us: we have been
brilliant at times and inconsistent at others.

“If we can come up with that consistency over these closing
months it will provide a springboard for next season.

“Finish this season as strong as we possibly can, as high as we
can, and then we’ll be in a much better place come the summer to
really push on.”