Sport Soccer

Thursday 22 February 2018

Suarez ready for captain's armband

Rodgers insists striker can fill leadership void left by injured Gerrard for Spurs showdown

Luis Suarez could take the captain’s armband with club captain Steven Gerrard ruled out through injury GETTY IMAGES
Luis Suarez could take the captain’s armband with club captain Steven Gerrard ruled out through injury GETTY IMAGES
Brendan Rodgers

Chris Bascombe and Gerry Cox

Brendan Rodgers is considering rewarding Luis Suarez with the Liverpool captaincy following his outstanding form this season.

Suarez, so often the centre of controversy for his club, will be given the job in the absence of Steven Gerrard should vice-captain Daniel Agger not return.

Agger missed last weekend's victory over West Ham because of illness and Mamadou Sakho proved an able deputy at centre-half, so the odds now favour the Uruguayan leading the side against Tottenham at White Hart Lane tomorrow. Rodgers said he would have no qualms about giving Suarez the responsibility.

"Would Luis be ready for the captaincy? One hundred per cent. Absolutely," said Rodgers. "We will have to wait and see what my decision is at White Hart Lane.

"Daniel Agger is fit. He didn't train at the start of the week because he was ill, but he has been training now and he's available for selection."

The appointment as captain would complete Suarez's redemption in the eyes of the Merseyside club after he was a temporary outcast during last summer's transfer saga.

He was ordered to train alone on his return for pre-season after saying he wanted to leave the club amid interest from Arsenal. That followed the latest of a series of indiscretions resulting in a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, the second major suspension in as many seasons.

These controversies have had little consequence for his on-field performances, however, and since returning from suspension and being invited back to the fold, Suarez has found a level comparable with some of the finest individual displays in Liverpool's history.

While many may question Suarez's suitability for captaincy, in terms of setting an example through skill and application Rodgers is on solid ground.

The manager may also calculate that the added responsibility of leadership may curb the player's other excesses.

Suarez has certainly displayed a less volatile temperament towards officials since his return, and has been booked just once during the campaign.

Rodgers is forced to consider his captaincy options because Gerrard must sit out the Christmas period with a hamstring strain. Jordan Henderson has recovered from a bruised ankle and will be in the squad for the trip to London.


The man who will attempt to keep Suarez quiet tomorrow, Etienne Capoue, could have been playing alongside Liverpool's leading scorer if events had taken another turn.

Capoue (25) signed for Spurs from Toulouse this summer but was wanted by Liverpool in 2011. The French midfielder, who can also play in defence, had been on the Liverpool radar for a couple of years, but decided to stay in France.

"I think it was the right decision," he said this week. "I knew English clubs were interested in me, but the chairmen didn't agree and I wasn't really ready for the Premier League."

But it was a different story this year, when Andre Villas-Boas moved quickly after Cardiff City had agreed terms with Toulouse. Capoue turned his attention to London and has no regrets.

"It's a very competitive club and a strong club," he said. "It's what I wanted. I want to get into the Champions League here and also I had the confidence of the coach."

The influence of his fellow France internationals Hugo Lloris and Younes Kaboul helped. "Yes, they spoke very well of it too. I think I needed a change and the Premier League was the right next step."

He will need to be at his best against Suarez, who has scored 15 goals so far this season. Laughing off the idea that the prospect of facing the Uruguayan has kept him awake at nights, Capoue said: "He is an amazing player. It's a good opportunity for me to show my mettle." (© Daily Telegraph, London)



Irish Independent

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