Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers claims Luis Suarez is “champing at the bit” ahead of his return from a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April.
Rodgers says Suarez has suffered from not playing football during his ban but does not expect that to have dulled the striker’s fighting spirit. The Reds boss is confident the 26-year-old is ready both physically and mentally to be thrust back into action.
However, he is less sure about whether the player has learned from the sanction imposed for biting Ivanovic. Rodgers would not confirm whether the Uruguay international had been helped by the club’s in-house psychologist Dr Steve Peters in the wake of his misdemeanour, but hinted it had been part of a wide-ranging rehabilitation programme.
Suarez, of course, has previous for biting having been banned for seven matches for sinking his teeth into PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax in November 2010, immediately prior to his move to Anfield.
“I am not going into too much detail on him but he has had support in every way,” said Rodgers. “It is not just technical and tactical development here, we look at physical elements and how we can improve psychological state. He has worked tirelessly on every aspect.
“He’s had a long time to reflect on what has happened but now all that is in the past, the ban is finished and he has suffered because he hasn’t been playing.
“Now he is available and we are all delighted he is ready to go again.”
But asked whether Suarez had learned his lesson after a second lengthy ban for biting, Rodgers could only say: “We will see, we will see.”
Van Persie ruled out
Meanwhile, Robin van Persie will miss Manchester United’s Capital One Cup third-round tie with Liverpool at Old Trafford. Van Persie has not recovered from the groin injury that kept him out of Sunday’s EPL defeat at Manchester City.