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Brendan Rodgers knew he was about to witness something special when, upon arriving on Merseyside in June 2012, two Liverpool icons told him Luis Suarez was the best they had ever played with.
Steven Gerrard, who has made no attempts to hide his admiration for the Uruguayan's abilities, joined fellow Scouser Jamie Carragher in priming Rodgers for his first sight of the No.7 in full flow.
When Rodgers glimpsed the talent up close at Melwood he was suitably impressed by the drive, determination and sheer quality on display.
In the Northern Irishman's first season at the helm, Suarez hit 23 goals in 30 games, serving up trademark spectacular strikes at stadiums across the country with stunning regularity.
But the 27-year-old would blow all such achievements out of the water during 2013-14, plundering 31 strikes from 33 appearances and making a clean sweep of England's footballing awards.
On Thursday, Rodgers picked up the Football Writers' Association prize on Suarez's behalf at a ceremony in London - and told reporters of his pride at coaching one of the world's leading stars.
"When I came into Liverpool as manager, Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard said to me this was the best player that they had played with," said Rodgers.
"I thought about those two and all the great players they've played with in their career, so I was really interested to see what his play was like close up.
"For me, he has challenged me every day of my life, he's done everything that you would need to do at the top level of the game as a player.
"He is a winner, his determination is unique, he is absolutely relentless. He is someone that trains every single day of his life - he doesn't look for an excuse.
"And what people don't see is that he is a very intelligent man. He is a winner when he crosses the line, but with great intelligence.
"For a young manager like myself coming into a club like Liverpool, I understand the pressures of the club and those pressures include everything that involves managing top players.
"I know for however long I am at Liverpool, whenever I leave I will have become a better manager and a better person because of Luis Suarez and for that I thank him so much."
Author: Phil Reade Tagged:
, Luis Suarez
, steven gerrard
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