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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Luis Suarez: Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and Kenny Dalglish helped me grow

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has cited former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and ex-manager Kenny Dalglish as having played key roles in his development.

Suarez, 29, scored 69 Premier League goals during three-and-a-half years at Liverpool, after signing for the club from Ajax in January 2011. He won both the PFA and FWA's top individual awards after almost leading the Reds to Premier League glory in the 2013-14 season.

The Uruguay international left Anfield that summer for his current side Barcelona, but he remains grateful to his former teammate Gerrard.

Suarez won the Treble in his first season at Barcelona, and this term is on course to beat teammate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo to the Pichichi awards as La Liga's top goal scorer.

He told ESPN's Quique Wolff: "Liverpool turned me to a player of a different level. [A] player like Gerrard, he was so motivating the way he played. I learned so much from him.

"You went in there and you were transformed. They never gave up. The fans it was so motivating. The stadium was always full. It made me grow as a player, I matured, my play improved technically."

Suarez was also asked about which coaches he credits for his development, replying: "Well, first, of course, [former Nacional coach] Martin Lasarte who gave me the chance to debut. 

Luis Suarez made 110 Premier League appearances for Liverpool.

"There were people who said take that kid was never going to score a goal against anyone and he kept supporting me, supporting me, supporting me and gave me the chance to play so I am very grateful because that is very difficult it was Uruguay and I was only 18. His support at that time was incredible and very important.

"Then coaches like I had at Groningen who incentivised me have a winning attitude and show it. They told me all these things, you have to watch what you eat, watch your weight, train harder you have to show what you can do.

"Those were all messages that players in Uruguay [league] didn't get but those things are the difference-makers. In Uruguay you do what you want and nothing happens. These are the things that turn you into a professional player over here. And they were tough lessons for me to learn.

"Then, for me, Kenny Dalglish, he changed me for what he did for me at Liverpool, for the way he was. He even compared me to him. He supported me in that moment of racism, he defended me because he believed in me. And I am grateful to him

"And whether I like it or not, now Luis Enrique continues to change me because of his temperament because one is like him, they are messages that change you when you have good coaches.

"'El Maestro,' [Uruguay coach Oscar] Tabarez, he is the only one like a person, human being, he is spectacular. He insisted that I had to be on the national team. When he didn't take me to the Copa America 2007 I was mad and he told me, no, you have to go through the process of playing for the World under-20 championships and then you go to the senior team.

"And then he brought me up slowly. He tells you things for your own good. He has changed me in many ways."

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