• World Cup

Liverpool players must treat Suarez like the enemy - Ferdinand

ESPN staff
June 15, 2014
Luis Suarez was an unused substitute for Uruguay against Costa Rica © Getty Images

Rio Ferdinand says England's Liverpool players must put their friendship with Luis Suarez to one side and make him the enemy when they face Uruguay on Thursday.

Captain Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson could come up against Suarez in what is now a crucial Group D encounter for England and Uruguay after defeats to Italy and Costa Rica in their opening World Cup games respectively.

Ferdinand apologises for Lewin gaffe

  • Rio Ferdinand has apologised for tweeting that Gary Lewin, the England physio who dislocated his ankle while celebrating Daniel Sturridge's equaliser against Italy, should have just "run it off".
  • While Lewin was being stretchered off in Manaus, Ferdinand posted on the social networking site: "What happened to running it off??? The magic spray & sponge??? Our Physio Gary Lewin has to man up!!"
  • However, when the extent of Lewin's injury became clear, Ferdinand retracted his initial tweet and said: "Was only having a bit of banter but just found out that Gary Lewins injury was serious so apologies for previous tweets on the injury.My bad."
  • Lewin suffered the injury when he fell over a stray water bottle in celebrating Sturridge's goal. He will now return home from Brazil.
  • England manager Roy Hodgson added: "That was a very sad moment for us. In celebrating the goal he jumped up, landed on a water bottle and dislocated his ankle.
  • "It was very painful. He was taken to hospital. The doctor set it, put it back in at the side of the field, but it's the end of the World Cup for Gary."

Doubts remain over the fitness of Suarez as he was an unused substitute in Uruguay's shock 3-1 defeat on Saturday but coach Oscar Tabarez insists the striker has recovered from the knee surgery he had last month. He said: "We still have four days before we face England. If he improves there is a chance he may play."

If Suarez is fit to face Roy Hodgson's side, Ferdinand insists he must be treated like the enemy by their Liverpool players.

"England are capable of winning but there will be some major psychology at play because of Suarez and his closeness to his Liverpool team-mates," Ferdinand wrote in his column for the Mail on Sunday.

"On the one hand, there's comfort in it because you know everything about them - their capabilities, moods and motivation. But there's also a negative that falls somewhere between respect and fear, because they know you so well too, what you can do, and especially your weaknesses.

"So assuming Suarez is up against Gerrard and Henderson in England's two-man defensive cover shield, he will already be armed with all the knowledge of how to take advantage.

"I'm certain there will have been no contact between England's Liverpool players and Suarez in Brazil. You need a clinical emotional detachment at times like this, no hint of club camaraderie. On the pitch you are enemies with just one focus: winning."

Ferdinand, a former England captain, claims that even if they have to face the threat of Suarez it will not be all doom and gloom. The defeat against Italy means Hodgson's side are likely to have to win both of their remaining group games and Ferdinand is optimistic because of the form shown by Raheem Sterling in Manaus.

Sterling, 19, was handed only his fifth start for England and given the No.10 role by manager Roy Hodgson - and Ferdinand was impressed with his display. "Sterling was a breath of fresh air, attacking without fear, taking people on, going for goal, playing like he's enjoying trying to win," Ferdinand said.

"His pass to Rooney that Rooney then crossed superbly to Sturridge for 1-1 was a peach. And his early shot on goal from distance that rippled the side netting rather than ending up in the back of the net was the kind of effort that makes you get out of your seat."

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