Brendan Rodgers was a guest on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday program on Sunday, and the boss discussed a range of topics including Luis Suarez‘s Player of the Year chances and Jamie Carragher‘s retirement.
The manager also spoke about loan striker Andy Carroll, who found the net for West Ham against Southampton on Saturday to clinch a 1-1 draw for the London side.
We’ve transcribed some of the highlights of the show for you to read through below.
Rodgers on Luis Suarez:
“He’s an incredible guy and what is so remarkable about him is his will to train hard every day. He travels far away to internationals and then comes back and doesn’t want to have a breather. He loves it at Liverpool. He’s a winner like us all, and so we want to improve the group so that we can be up there, challenging consistently at the top end of the league. He’ll be important to that. Steven Gerrard recently said that he could be the best player he has ever played with. That is an incredible testament to Luis’s ability because of the number of players Steven has played alongside. And also, the fact that Steven himself is absolutely world class.”
On Suarez for Player of the Year:
“People will say I’m being a wee bit biased but I look at Luis and his performance level from the very first day of the season, right the way through the six months when he was our lone striker and he has been outstanding. Gareth Bale is an incredible player — as is Robin van Persie. They all have their own strengths. But if I look at a player who has consistently done it and has played in a team that is growing, rather than being right up there from the beginning, then I would certainly say that Luis is worthy of the award.”
On strengthening the squad:
“We’ll have to strengthen our defense because Jamie is looking to retire and move on. So we need to ensure that we have enough strength there. You’re always looking for forward players as well, so hopefully we can add more creativity and more goalscorers to the team.”
On playing European football with Liverpool:
“It’s important for the club. Liverpool, with its incredible history, is a club that wants to be in that area but you have to earn the right to get there. Liverpool is an amazing club, it’s a real institution. The supporters are incredible. To get in there we need to win games.”
On Jamie Carragher:
“It’s an interesting one with Carra because this guy’s incredible. I want to put that on record. I saw him from the outside when I was at Chelsea and the games he was playing in the [UEFA] Champions League. I always thought he was one of the best defenders in European football at that stage. To come in and work with him at close hand and see his will and determination. His play speaks for itself, but the fight and spirit and quality that he shows every single day in training is amazing.”
On Carragher’s return to the side:
“I had a good conversation with Carra last summer because he was maybe thinking about moving on to pastures new last year, but we talked and decided that he would stay. For me, he’s hardly put a foot wrong. I obviously wanted to go with a pairing of Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger as maybe the future at the beginning of the season and those guys have done really well. But I felt that with Carra and all the games he’s played — the cup games and any time he’s come in in the league — he’s been remarkable and I felt I wanted to put him in the team.”
On Carragher’s retirement:
“He’s been fantastic and I do [believe he could play next season]. Him and I communicate a lot and he’s obviously got something in his mind. He and I will sit down between now and the end of the season anyway and we’ll see where it goes. If he does go, I will certainly miss him because he’s been brilliant for me in my time there, going in as a manager of a club of that size. He’s shown great respect and really helped me and the other guys. The thing for now is to keep performing the way he is until the end of the season and between then and now him and I will chat and we’ll take it from there.”
On Andy Carroll:
“The objective this season was to get Andy playing games. I came in the summer and he had had a frustrating period up until that point, where he maybe hadn’t played as much as he would have wanted to play. So he felt that this was a season when he needed to get games. I couldn’t guarantee that was going to happen. But there’s absolutely no doubt that come the end of the season, we will sit down and talk because he is a player who can contribute to what we’re trying to do. He’s a good guy. He came in and trained a bit in the summer and we had open conversations in terms of where he was at. So there’s no problem. He just wants to play football. A certain style will suit his game but there’s no doubt he can get goals. It’s just about the style that is going to utilize his strengths and qualities. He and I will speak at the end of the season and we will take it from there.”