• Champions League

Suarez dreaming of Champions League

ESPN staff
February 21, 2014
Referee Howard Webb will not be relegated despite harsh criticism made towards him following a questionable call during last week's FA Cup clash between Arsenal and Liverpool

Luis Suarez says playing in the Champions League next season with Liverpool would be a dream come true.

Brendan Rodgers' side are on course to qualify for the competition, as they lie fourth in the Premier League with 12 matches to play. Suarez, 27, has been key to that push as the league's leading scorer, having scored 23 goals since returning from suspension in late September.

He went through a turbulent few months in 2013, collecting a 10-match domestic ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in April, and declared publicly during the summer that he wanted to leave.

Liverpool held off two bids from Arsenal to sign him, and the striker suggested a long-term commitment to staying on Merseyside when he signed a contract extension in December that runs through to 2018.

Those in the know at Anfield believe that the best way to end any sense of restlessness in Suarez once and for all would be to reach the Champions League, a competition the club last qualified for in 2009.

Suarez, who figured in the competition for his previous club Ajax, admitted that watching this week's last-16 ties on television has increased his desire to play in it again. Having learned about dramatic European nights at Anfield from talking to Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, the striker wants to experience them for himself.

"I want to be there with Liverpool. It's an unbelievable competition. It's where we want to be - playing against the top teams in Europe," Suarez told the Liverpool Echo. "I watched the games on TV this week and when you hear that Champions League music that's motivation in itself.

"Stevie [Gerrard] has told me about Champions League nights at Anfield. He said when you have played Champions League football at Anfield you will never forget it. I want to try it for myself. When I arrived here I said it was my dream to play for Liverpool and play Champions League here. I know I can achieve my dreams here."

But while Liverpool are just four points off league leaders Chelsea, Suarez concedes that winning the Premier League this season may be a little beyond them.

"Can we win the title? I'm not sure. I think this season the Premier League is so difficult. Every team can lose games. Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal have been dropping points," he said. "We are very strong at home and we must keep going like this. As the manager said we are a Chihuahua! We must just focus on every game. In football you never know what can happen.

"To be in the Champions League is what we all want. This is our objective - to play in it next season. We know we have a small squad. When our best 11 players start we have shown we can do well against any team. But if we have one or two injuries it can become difficult for the manager."

Suarez has struck up an impressive partnership this season with Daniel Sturridge, who has weighed in with 19 goals on top of his teammate's tally.

And Suarez believes the pair's understanding on the pitch has been a major boost for Liverpool this term.

"I enjoy playing with Daniel and there is a good relationship between us," he said. "I think both players love scoring goals. It's important when you have two or three players like that as it gives more confidence for the team. Daniel was scoring goals when I couldn't play at the start of the season and then when Daniel was out injured I was able to score a lot of goals. It's important for the team not to be relying on one player.

"The team is always more important than any individual. If I don't score but the team wins I am so happy. Last season I went six games without scoring, now it's four games but it's no problem. I know I am in another position now and I try my best there. I will work very hard for the team. It doesn't matter who scores the goals. If Daniel or someone else scores I am so happy for them."

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