Gerrard: Suarez 'too good' for Arsenal
Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool would be favourites to win the Premier League if they had kept Luis Suarez, and talked the striker out of a move to Arsenal last summer.
The Liverpool captain told Suarez that "he was too good for Arsenal" at the time the striker was linked with a move to join Arsene Wenger's side.
Suarez left Liverpool to join Barcelona in a deal worth a reported 75 million pounds this summer after scoring 31 Premier League goals, winning the PFA Player of the Year award and helping the club finish as runners-up to Manchester City.
And Gerrard believes they would be well placed to go one better this season, but doesn't begrudge the Uruguay international his "dream" move.
Free to play: ESPN FC Premier League fantasy
- Sign up for our new game and challenge your friends
- Fantasy Blog: Tips for picking your squad | New names
- David Silva and Romelu Lukaku in hot fantasy form
- How to play the game -- fantasy rules in full
- FAQ: All your game questions answered
- Transfers: Check out the latest Premier League moves
- Fantasy HQ: Email us with your issues
He told reporters: "I believe if we had Luis Suarez we'd be favourites. I'm disappointed to see him leave now but I am happy for him that's he has got what he wants and deserves. Since day one he has been phenomenal in training every day and in the games.
"His wife is from Barcelona and I don't think you can begrudge a player like that, who has worked so hard for his dream. You can't go against him when he says he is leaving for Barcelona. His dream from the first day he came was to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona. Last summer when he was out in the cold and training on his own that's the conversation I had with him. I said, 'Don't go to Arsenal'.
"I would have been really sad and disappointed to see Luis go to Arsenal. With all due respect to them, I said to him that he was too good for Arsenal. I said if you score 30 goals for us and win the PFA Player of the Year, the press Player of the Year -- I knew he was going to win them -- I told him Real or Barcelona will come for you.
"I think he got the wrong advice last year from people around him, from people saying he needed to play in the Champions League and it did not matter who it was for.
"I have experience of the Spanish clubs myself and I know if you play well they will come back and come back. I knew they'd be back for him as well.
"I just thought for his own sake, to get respect off the Liverpool fans, he had to give us at least one year. A lot of people might still think he should have given us one more, but my big dream was to play for Liverpool, and the foreign players' big dream is to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona, that's a fact."
The last two times Liverpool finished second in the Premier League resulted in a season of decline the year after, but Gerrard hopes that will not be the case this time after the squad strengthening work that Brendan Rodgers has undertaken.
Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Dejan Lovren and Lazar Markovic have all arrived in an attempt to keep Liverpool competitive in the Premier League while taking on the added responsibility of the Champions League.
Gerrard said: "When we finished second in those cases, I don't think there was a genuine belief that we were going to go all the way to the wire. Last year we were in it until the end and that has given us the belief that we are genuine title contenders.
"It is different when you finish second and you know you were never really in it. You are chasing. This time we were there, right at the end. We could have won it."
Gerrard has one year left on his current contract and hopes to extend it but is concentrating on the forthcoming season more than his own future.
He said: "Brendan has mentioned it a couple of times in the media but no talks have happened. I'm sure we will talk in the future, but we will have to wait and see. I hope that I am here for more than one year, of course I do. But it is all about this season for me."