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The Reds boss says the Barcelona striker was in touch to tell his former side to start strongly and insists he is a friend of the club, despite his departure to Camp Nou

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed striker Luis Suarez texted him ahead of the Reds’ clash with Southampton and says his heart is still with the club.

The Uruguay international left Anfield for Barcelona in the summer after a traumatic World Cup that saw him banned from football for four months after biting Giorgio Chiellini during his country's 2-1 defeat to Italy.

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Suarez's ban has subsequently been upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) although he is now able to train with his new club but Rodgers says he has not forgotten his former team-mates.

“He [Suarez] sent me a lovely text this morning wishing us all the best and telling his old team-mates to start strongly. He’s a friend of Liverpool now," he told reporters.

“I sent one back. He’s a good boy but he’s gone. His heart is with Liverpool. He’ll always be Liverpool and it was a lovely touch."

Liverpool beat Southampton 2-1 in their opening Premier League game, with Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge on target for the Reds and while Rodgers was not too impressed with his side's performance he was thrilled with the win.

"I think pre-season was broken with players coming back late. We had to grind out a result," he added.

"Today was a brilliant win for us. It was a tough game and we had to grind it out so I’m really happy with the determination and character. As the season rolls on we will play better.

"You know you want to make a good start and get going. We weren’t as fluent, it was all about the win and the victory.

"Southampton are a good side with some very good players. We had to show guts and determination. We put Rickie [Lambert] on and changed the way we played. I think that unsettled them a bit."

 

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