• League Cup

Suarez backed for United trip

ESPN staff
September 25, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Old Rivals meet at Old Trafford


Brendan Rodgers has said in the Guardian that he has "no hesitation" about selecting the now-available Luis Suarez for Liverpool's Capital One Cup third round match against Manchester United.

Suarez is at Rodgers' disposal once more after he served the last game of his ten-match ban - missing out on the 1-0 loss at home to Southampton on Saturday - that he received for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic arm last season.

He is poised to make his comeback on Wednesday at Old Trafford, where the tension will likely be high after the striker was given an eight-game suspension for racially abusing Patrice Evra in 2011.

Rodgers, though, is confident Suarez will be able to handle the intensity. He said: "I have got no hesitation about playing Luis. Since I have been here there has never been an issue with anything like that. There is the history of the clash but it won't enter my mind.

"Luis is a tough character. He is resilient and one of the strongest-willed characters I have met in my life. I don't think he will bat an eyelid at that.

"He is a fighter and his will and desire to succeed is there for everyone to see. We are just delighted to have him back. I know the players are happy we are bringing someone back like that of that quality."

Rodgers continued: "I don't think he will be targeted any more than he has been before. Luis is that type of player. He will always provoke the tackle. The work that he does in and around the box will always make defenders be on the back foot.

"It is part of the game and you have to put up with that. I think this is a good game for us after the disappointment of the weekend [Saturday's defeat by Southampton]. Luis will be a part of it.

"I'm sure that when Luis knew he would be available for this fixture it would have really stoked him up to make sure he was ready. You could argue that this is a really good game for him to come back into."

Scrutiny will be on Suarez over whether he has learnt from the ban which followed his biting of Ivanovic.

Asked about whether the trip to United represents the biggest test of the forward's temperament, Rodgers replied: "I don't think so. I think that [test] will come over time. It won't be a one-off game. Of course this will be a great game if he is picked in the team.

"He will just be happy to pull on the shirt for real. It doesn't matter where that would be, whether it was Old Trafford or another stadium. I think we will see the lessons learned and that maturity over time."

Rodgers' counterpart David Moyes is under pressure at United following their 4-1 loss to rival Manchester City on Sunday, and the Reds boss has likened the Scot's taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson to his succeeding Kenny Dalglish at Anfield.

"David is having to manage change after someone with Sir Alex Ferguson's track record and that is a different pressure altogether," Rodgers said. "I came in after Kenny, who is a legend of the club, but you have to put your own mark on things and do things as you see fit.

"I'm sure David, like myself, will make every decision that is best for his club. He will be better for the experiences of this year and that will help him move them on. This is the first time that people have been able to look at United and scrutinise the club in years.

"A change of manager will always do that. But they are the champions. It is still a champion squad and I'm sure David is looking to make his own mark on it."

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