Aspas Backed as Reds get Ready for Suarez Return

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has leapt to the defence of under-fire Iago Aspas and backed the striker to come good.

The former Celta Vigo star has made a subdued start to life in the Premier League and was substituted at half-time during Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Southampton.

The 26 year old has so far struggled to cope with the physical demands of the Premier League however despite his slow-start Rodgers has backed the striker to come good.

“There’s no doubt it’s been difficult,” Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo. “When you are the player who scores goals you want that goal to give you that confidence and obviously he hasn’t got that yet.

“It was difficult for him to get in the game. We flipped it about a bit in the first half in triangles to try and get him on the ball a bit more. He’ll continue to work hard.

“Iago is a good boy, and honest boy and he’s obviously been thrown in a bit quicker than he’s had to have been.

“But he’s a good guy, he’s working hard and trying his best so hopefully over time he’ll get his goals and make the impact we think he can.”

While Aspas failed to shine at Anfield on Saturday he was not alone in the below-par performance stakes and Rodgers will hope that his players can put the defeat behind them and recapture their form.

“I think it was hard because across the board I felt we were flat,” he added. “I think it’s something that we would hope now gets a response out of the players.

“Saturday will hurt. But we’ll reflect on the game, put it behind us and move on.

“We never really got going from the off – it was a bit lethargic and technically we were short, so it was a very disappointing result and performance for us.

“It hasn’t been like us. We’ve normally started games very well. But we’ll just put it down as one of those days and now we need to go on another good run.”

The Reds are set to receive a timely boost however with Luis Suarez set to return to action in the midweek Capital One cup with Manchester United and Rodgers revealed that the Uruguay international was “champing at the bit” to get back on the field of play.

“How he has prepared himself over the last number of weeks has been fantastic,” said the Reds boss.

“He’s really champing at the bit to help the team.

“Everyone knows the depth of his quality and his attitude.

“He is non-stop and he has commitment and I am sure once he gets back on the field again he will show what he has shown since he’s been here, which is top quality.

“He played a behind-closed-doors game against Burnley and we had a lot of our younger players in that because some of the older ones had played a reserve game the night before.

“I know a lot of players who would’ve decided to come and train that morning but he loves the game and he lives for the game and he put everything into that.

“It is what we expect because that is the type of character he is.”

Trevor Keane

Trevor Keane is an Irish based sports writer and the author of Gaffers, 50 years of Irish Managers and Running through Walls, the Dave Langan Story.

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