Rodgers says player has 'matured as a man and as a footballer' - who?

The Liverpool boss addressed the media ahead of his side's trip to Arsenal on Saturday evening.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told the media at a press conference today that Luis Suarez has matured ever since the summer transfer window.

Suarez tried to engineer a move to this weekend’s opponents, Arsenal, in the summer transfer window, a move which Rodgers said was never going to happen, but praised the way Suarez has matured both as a player and a man.

I’ve seen an improvement in his footballing ability and his maturity this year. So that really bodes well for us. He’s matured as a man as well. He’s 26 years of age, he’s a father of two now and I think the maturity in his game and his personal life is there to see.

‘I respect why Arsenal would want to buy a player of Luis’ quality because he’s one of the leading strikers in the world. But for us and the institution that we are, we certainly weren’t going to sell to our rival or a competitor.

‘It’s a great credit to the owners and the leadership of the club that they stood by what my thoughts were as manager and they backed it all the way.’

Rodgers said on the team as a whole: ‘I believe we’ve started the season as we would’ve wanted: strong, putting a marker down that we’re going to be consistent. After that early period we’ve been playing well and I believe we can get better and improve.’

Rodgers confirmed that Philippe Coutinho will return to the side following a shoulder injury, but there are still question marks over the fitness of Jose Enrique. He also confirmed Fabio Borini does have a future at Liverpool, following his goal for Sunderland against Newcastle last weekend.

He’s definitely got a future here. He’s a talented young player and over the next few years hopefully he’ll develop well.’

The Liverpool boss expressed how much respect he has for his opposite number this weekend in Arsene Wenger.

‘When he came into the league over 15 years ago, he changed the landscape really for coaching with his ideas, his methods of work and he obviously inherited an outstanding group of players. Then over time he added to them and changed the identity of the club.’

There was also praise for the Liverpool owners from the manager, as the FSG’s Boston Red Sox won the World Series baseball title.

When asked if Liverpool could follow in the footsteps of the Red Sox and the Liverpool Ladies who won the Women’s Super League title, Rodgers joked: ‘That’ll be straightforward, won’t it?

We want to be up there challenging and winning trophies here, that’s what Liverpool’s about and there’ll never be any shying away from that expectancy. It will always be here and that is something we relish and look forward to plan and succeed.’

image: © Bernard C

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