- Premier League
Rodgers hails 'master' role model Suarez
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Luis Suarez's work rate and confidence are a shining example for his team-mates and the club's youngsters, making him an ideal role model for aspiring strikers.
Suarez, who tops the Premier League scoring chart with 10 goals for the Reds so far this season, continues to divide opinion among opposition fans and managers alike.
Critics continue to accuse him of diving, while Wigan boss Roberto Martinez believes the striker ought to have been sent off for stamping on David Jones.
But Rodgers is adamant the Uruguayan will not be unsettled by such controversies as he continues to thrive at Anfield, earmarking him as the ideal role model for the club's fledgling strikers and an example for his team-mates.
"Your No. 9 is always a reference for the team, whether it is through goals or his presence," Rodgers told the Daily Mirror. "With Luis, he's a real reference for this team, because of what he brings - what you get is an all-round game. He has great confidence, and yes, that transmits itself to the rest of the team.
"We want to work and press the ball high up the field and if you have a No. 9 who doesn't want to do that, that can be difficult for you. You cannot function as a team that way. But Luis offers a great presence up there, and is a great reference for this team, which is important to us."
With a shortage of strikers at Anfield following the departure of Andy Carroll on loan and injury to Fabio Borini, Suarez's goals have been vital for Liverpool who are on the road to recovery after making their worst start to a season in a century.
But while Rodgers is grateful to the Uruguayan for his contribution up front and in the dressing room, he was quick to make it clear that Liverpool are not a one-man team.
"I think maybe he's scoring more because it's one where he suits the role and the function of the team; playing in that loose striker's role that allows him more freedom," Rodgers added. "He is not playing off second balls off anyone, he is playing off the movement and cleverness in and around the box, and that suits him.
"It is confidence, it is work on the training field and it is the player. He is very confident, he is enjoying his work and you see that in his game. Don't get me wrong Luis is a is a real masterclass marksman - up there with the world's best - but maybe the team deserve credit for his form, too."