Luis Suarez is "scared" of sustaining an injury that would keep him out of this summer's World Cup in Brazil, despite suggesting he won't consider Uruguay's chances of lifting the trophy until Liverpool's Premier League season is over.
As reported by Sport 890AM and via Sky Sports, Suarez doesn't want to go the same way as other big names:
The truth is that I am scared of what happened to [Radamel] Falcao and [Theo] Walcott.
But you live in the present and you always give your best for your club - you can't be thinking about that all the time. It is a unique opportunity and we all want to be there, but I prefer to focus my mind on the English league. The moment to think about the national team will arrive later.
Suarez also took the opportunity to speak about his image within the English game. Regularly branded a diver, cheat or pest by the media prior to this season, Suarez appears to have eradicated irritations from his game.
When asked about the incident which saw him charged for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in 2011, Suarez maintained his innocence and suggested it is not a moment in his career he regrets:
Let me tell you, I've made only two mistakes in my career. My first was when I was playing for Ajax and I bit an opponent. My second was when I bit [Branislav] Ivanovic.
[...] I said I'm sorry and that was all, end of story. I've nothing else to regret. All the other things were like a movie that people in England believed in.
The case with [Patrice] Evra was all false. I was accused without proof. But that's in the past. I was sad at that moment, but I'm happy today.
Suarez's increased sense of focus has proven vital to Liverpool's chances this season. The divisive striker has scored 23 goals in 21 Premier League appearances, recorded by WhoScored.com, and continues to flourish alongside Daniel Sturridge.
An excellent total of eight assists can also be added to Suarez's output and highlights an individual who is playing with selflessness. While Sturridge is often criticised for holding onto the ball too often or being greedy, Suarez is more than willing to pass if his teammate is in a better position.
Despite sitting seven goals clear of Sturridge atop the Premier League top scorers' chart, per BBC Sport, Suarez has netted just once in his last five games in the division, reported by WhoScored.com. OptaJoe builds on this statistic:
While Suarez has always had the talent to be consistently prolific, the player's improved attitude appears to have increased his overall contribution to Liverpool's cause. He has strayed away from dives that would rile fans of either side and looks to keep his cool in front of the cameras.
His importance to Liverpool is unmatched and will galvanise if the club capture fourth place. Should the Reds enter a season of Champions League football, Suarez's improved attitude has the ability to spearhead a team that continues to rapidly improve.