Brendan Rodgers: Suarez needs to ‘move on’ from Patrice Evra controversy

The former Swansea City boss has expressed his view that the Uruguayan should forget last season’s drama and concentrate on his football
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been encouraged by manager Brendan Rodgers to “move on” from the Patrice Evra controversy in order to concentrate on his football.

The Uruguayan faced a barrage of boos and jeers prior to and during his Olympic Games appearance at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

Suarez’s hostile reception in Wales has been met with much criticism, the Liverpool forward himself branding fans’ behaviour as a “total lack of respect”, while team-mate Sebastian Coates believes his punishment for racially abusing Evra last season has gone too far.
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Rodgers has said he believes Suarez and the footballing public need to move on from last season’s drama and concentrate on the upcoming Premier League campaign, which gets underway in a little under two weeks.

"The first point is that opposition fans only give people stick because they're good players," Rodgers told The Guardian. "You don't see bad ones getting it. Luis probably still feels a little bit of injustice about last season, but for me the message is that we have to move on. We have to move forward.

“What's happened has happened and let's let it go now, however hard it is. We want to be winning games and doing our best for the football club."

Uruguay's early elimination from the Olympics means Suarez and Coates will return to Liverpool ahead of Thursday's Europa League third qualifying round, second leg against FC Gomel. Rodgers, whose side secured a fortunate 1-0 first leg win in Belarus on Thursday, expects the striker to make a swift impact.

The Liverpool manager is excited at the prospect of having Suarez back in his Reds side after he missed the majority of pre-season due to Uruguay's Olympic Games commitments.

"It will be fantastic to have Luis coming back,” Rodgers continued, “and he is already fighting fit. He will have a couple of days off and join up with us after the weekend.”

The 25-year-old didn’t feature in Liverpool’s Europa League qualifying clash with FC Gomel of Belarus in midweek, but the Reds' boss is eager to play the Uruguayan in the coming weeks.

“He's been playing games, so he will already be up to a decent level of fitness, maybe even higher really, because he's had more competitive games. I'm really looking forward to working with him.”

The departure of Alberto Aquilani to Fiorentina has potentially left a gap in Liverpool’s squad, but Rodgers is confident he will be able to find a suitable replacement in the coming days.

"There is nothing imminent just yet, not that I am aware of, but hopefully things will progress over the next couple of days. It may take one or two moves to spark everything off.”

Italian midfielder Aquilani signed for the Merseyside club in 2009 for a £17m transfer fee. Originally meant to be a replacement for Xabi Alonso, the playmaker struggled with injury in his first season at Anfield and saw loan moves to Juventus and Milan in his final Liverpool years.

“I want players in sooner rather than later, it is important to get the group together as quickly as possible, but if not we will just have to be patient. I'd be happy as long as we have some in before the end of August," said Rodgers.
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"I have also looked at one or two loan deals from abroad. There are some quality players in that market that I have inquired about. The make-up of the group will change before the season starts and that will change the dynamic of the team also."

The exclusion of Andy Carroll and Daniel Agger from Liverpool’s Europa League squad saw the pair linked with possible moves to other clubs, but Rodgers is adamant they were rested for tactical purposes more than anything.

"Daniel was always going to stay behind,” he said. “We have a behind-closed-doors game for him this weekend to help his match fitness. It is straightforward with Andy too.

“I didn't want senior players coming over if they weren't going to get games. He is another who stayed at home to work on his condition."