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Suarez: We'll make top four

Striker Luis Suarez is confident Liverpool can regain their Champions League status if they maintain their current form.

The Reds are currently fourth in the table, having been top at Christmas, and are looking to secure a place in European football's elite club competition for the first time since 2009.

Suarez's form will be pivotal to their chances and, after collecting the league's player of the month award for a record-breaking December, he is upbeat about their chances.

The Uruguay international has scored 20 goals already this season – all in the league – with half of those coming as the 26-year-old became the first player in Premier League history to reach double figures in a calendar month.

"It's so important when you work hard on the pitch and they recognise it when you win these prizes," Suarez said.

"On the pitch I try to help Liverpool and I try to help the squad, and I think for confidence it is very good.

"If Liverpool continue at this level, we can finish in the top four, which we want."

Suarez insists he is a changed man after all the controversies that have dogged him in previous seasons and is constantly working to improve his attitude on the pitch.

"My temperament, attitude, desire and hunger when I am on the pitch has always been like this and will continue to be this way, I now know I have to control it more," Suarez said.

"An example of this was about two weeks ago when I had an open shot at goal and hit the post and it rebounded close to my hand and I was about to go for it and then I stopped. If the same thing had happened two months ago I would have gone for it. These things stay with me but I tell you I am changing.

"I am improving my attitude on the pitch because I know I was wrong in the past and I was creating an image of myself I know wasn't me."

EXPERIENCE

Manager Brendan Rodgers admits the experience of working with Suarez will last a lifetime.

It has not all been plain sailing for Rodgers after the player's failed attempts to manufacture a summer move, but the manager believes all that is behind them after the striker signed a new contract last month.

"The experience of working with Luis is something which will stay with me for a lifetime," Rodgers said.

"(Just to be able) to work with someone with that determination and desire and will to win.

"He is a real old-school player in that he is never injured and he loves to train. What has been brilliant about these last four or five months has been the maturity of the man.

"He obviously had issues in the summer, but since the moment he decided to stay, we talked him through how the club was evolving and he has been 150 per cent committed."

Rodgers believes he is well on course to deliver the requirements laid down by owner Fenway Sports Group when they appointed him in the summer of 2012.

With nine wins and only one defeat in 10 home league games this season, the club are turning Anfield into the fortress it once was.

"You are always striving to be better. In terms of the job I was asked to do when I came in, we are well on track for that," the manager said. "In three years, we were given the objective to push for the Champions League.

"We made great strides in the calendar year (of 2013) and this season was about being in the competition (contending for the top four) because no one was talking about Liverpool.

"We are on track, but when you are fourth, you always want to be third, second and ultimately first."

Defender Daniel Agger has confirmed he is expected to be sidelined for a month with a calf strain. The Denmark international sustained the injury late in Sunday's 2-0 FA Cup win over Oldham.

Agger's absence is a blow as Rodgers was just starting to get players back from injury.

The Dane's unavailability will be offset by the progress made by Mamadou Sakho's recovery from a hamstring strain ahead of tomorrow's trip to Stoke, while striker Daniel Sturridge is back in full training having been out since the end of November with a sprained ankle.

Captain Steven Gerrard played 77 minutes against Oldham to add to the half an hour he had coming off the bench against Hull four days previously to show he had fully recovered from a hamstring strain.


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