Luis Suarez has given the clearest indication yet that he will be a Liverpool player next season, proclaiming in an exclusive interview with the Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce, “I know I can achieve my dreams here.”
In a fascinating interview, Suarez also rubbished the suggestion he is the best player to have ever worn the red shirt, and he chose not to berate referee Howard Webb for his recent mistake that cost Liverpool their place in the FA Cup.
However, the Uruguayan’s most important words surrounded his future at Anfield after a week that saw the Champions League kick into life with a series of big matches that may have tempted him toward the exit door:
I watched the games on TV this week and when you hear that Champions League music that’s motivation in itself.
I want to be there with Liverpool. It’s an unbelievable competition. It’s where we want to be – playing against the top teams in Europe.
When I arrived here I said it was my dream to play for Liverpool and play Champions League here. I know I can achieve my dreams here.
It would be so easy for Suarez to play a waiting game over his future, particularly as Liverpool are only three points clear of Tottenham in the race for Champions League football.
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Seeing Manchester City and Arsenal go toe-to-toe with Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively will undoubtedly have whetted his appetite, and it is undoubtedly the stage on which the South American belongs.
However, Suarez clearly plans a long stay on Merseyside, further proof of which he gave by insisting he wants to become a legend at the club. Right now, Steven Gerrard is still No. 1 in the dressing room, says Suarez:
Stevie for me is the best player we have here. He has achieved so much. He’s our captain and a great leader. In the dressing room he never thinks he’s better than anyone else. For me he’s been one of the best player in the world for a lot of years.
I think Liverpool have a long history with many great players. I hope one day to be up there with those great players. I’ll try my best to write some history here.
Suarez’s goal rate this term has been incredible. He has netted 23 times in 21 Premier League outings, despite failing to score in his last four matches in all competitions.
Such form repays the club after they stood by him through racism and biting controversies, both of which saw the forward banned for lengthy spells.
Suarez even tried to leave over the summer—per Mike Whalley of ESPN FC, but Liverpool have enjoyed the perfect turnaround, not only in commitment but also character.
No incident encapsulated the “new Suarez” better than the penalty decision that went against him in Liverpool’s recent 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Arsenal. Ref Webb failed to point to the spot despite Suarez being rammed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, yet the Uruguayan just brushed it off:
I think everyone could see that it was 100% a penalty but sometimes it’s difficult for the referees. I understand that. Referees are normal people and they can miss things sometimes.
On the pitch you can see one image, on the TV you see another image. Referees don’t get to see the replays. That decision didn’t go our way but we have moved on.
The aim for Suarez now is to prove he can be relied upon to lead Liverpool into next year’s Champions League.
He failed to finish the last campaign due to the bite on Branislav Ivanovic and any repeat of such an offence would severely hamper the Reds’ dream of returning to Europe’s top table.
Suarez has been the dream forward for Liverpool this term, making manager Brendan Rodgers the envy of his Premier League counterparts. The forward’s talismanic displays have won certain games—like Norwich at home when he scored four—single-handedly.
He has 12 games left in which to maintain that form, beginning with Swansea at Anfield this weekend.
Suarez was banned when the Reds faced the Swans earlier in the campaign, and they were held to a 2-2 draw without him.
Three points would take Liverpool a step closer to a return to Champions League football and if they eventually book their ticket back into the competition, any lingering doubts over Suarez’s future will surely be doused for good.