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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Suarez: Gerrard key in decision to stay

Luis Suarez has again emphasised the role Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard played in convincing him to stay at Anfield.

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• Kelly: Temperature rises but Reds not wilting

Suarez had spoken publicly of his desire to play Champions League football in the summer and was linked with moves to Arsenal and Real Madrid.

However, Liverpool refused to consider any offers for the Uruguay international and have been richly rewarded for their decision, with the striker contributing 23 goals and nine assists in 22 league appearances this season after completing his 10-match suspension.

In an interview with FourFourTwo magazine, the 27-year-old -- who signed a new contract in December -- has spoken of the “massive part” Gerrard played in persuading him to remain with the Reds.

“He didn’t talk about me, or through me, in the press, but in person,” he said. “In those moments, I forgot that he was ‘world football great Gerrard’ -- a Liverpool legend -- but as a humble person who spoke to me with all his heart for hours.

“He said I was the best forward he’d ever played with, which given the amazing strikers that he’s played with at Liverpool, was amazing for me to hear. I’ll never forget that.”

Suarez also spoke of his delight at deputising for Gerrard as Liverpool captain in the 5-0 victory over Tottenham in the Premier League in December.

“It was weird -- strange,” he said. “I’d never imagined myself as Liverpool skipper. After everything that had happened with me, to retain the support of the club, the coach and my teammates showed me they were happy to forget and forgive.

“It proved that my commitment to the club and to my teammates is genuine and that I’m giving the maximum. Everyone here lives to help the club. Being Liverpool captain is something that validates you and makes you feel appreciated because there have been some fantastic leaders here.”

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