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 By Mike Whalley

Suarez: We must take title opportunity

Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool can go into next weekend's Premier League title clash against Manchester City with no fear.

Luis Suarez says that Liverpool “can’t stop now” in their pursuit of a first league title in 24 years.

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The Uruguay international has hit 29 goals this season to help guide the Reds to the top of the Premier League.

Brendan Rodgers’ side lead the league by two points with five games to go, and face a crucial match at home to third-placed Manchester City on Sunday.

Liverpool recorded a ninth successive league victory by winning 2-1 at West Ham last Sunday, with Suarez playing a key part even though he failed to score -- winning the first of his side’s two penalties and hitting the bar twice.

Five more victories will ensure the league title comes to Anfield, and Suarez has urged his teammates to go for it in the face of a demanding run that also includes a home match against second-placed Chelsea.

The 27-year-old told Liverpool’s official website: “With all the games, every week, we work to try to win. We work very hard. Our target was to finish in the top four and we’ve won our last few games.

“We also know Chelsea and City dropped some points, so we’re at the top of the league now and that’s amazing for us. Now we can’t stop because we have a really good chance.”

Liverpool’s nine-match winning run in the league is just three short of the club record, set over two seasons between April and October 1990, the year of their last title triumph.

Suarez added: “For some people, it’s a surprise because in the Premier League it is difficult to win nine games in a row. But if we continue at this level, we’ll play very well.

“On the pitch we try the best to help the team. The team know we’ve had some really good performances in the last few weeks and we’ll try to continue in this way.”

Suarez’s tally of 29 league goals has come despite the fact that he did not play until late September as he completed a 10-match domestic ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

He needs three more goals to set a new record for the highest total in a 38-game top-flight league season, set by Alan Shearer with Blackburn in 1995-96 and equalled by Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United in 2007-08.

But Suarez is more concerned with team achievements than personal records.

He said: “If I wanted to do that, I could ask Stevie if I could take a penalty, but I don’t like that. For myself, it is more important that Liverpool finish in a good position.

“I try in every game to score because I am a striker. I love to make goals, but for me if I could swap being top scorer or winning the Golden Boot for the team finishing in the top four, that would be more important.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has admitted he would likely still be warming the bench for City if he hadn't made the decision to leave the Etihad Stadium in 2009.

Having come through the ranks at City, Sturridge joined Chelsea on a free transfer after a frustrating three years in the first-team setup.

He made just five league starts at City, with his chances limited due to the big-money signings brought in following Sheikh Mansour's takeover in 2008.

"I would not have got to where I am today if I had stayed," said Sturridge in the Mirror. "It was difficult for me at Manchester City as a young player aged 18 or 19, with all the money they have.

"Realistically, you look back and they only have Micah Richards from the academy playing for the club's first team -- everyone else has been signed by Man City, so I feel I made the right decision leaving there."

Sturridge's experience at Chelsea was no different, admitting he "fell out of love with the game" after being forced to play out wide on his rare appearances while Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres fought it out to get the nod up front.

"At first, it was a matter of learning from the likes of Didier [at Chelsea], and I thought I would get my opportunity sooner, but they didn't believe in me as a centre-forward," he said.

"They always said, 'You're not a centre-forward, you're a winger' -- that's how they saw me, but that hurt me because I've played down the middle all my life.

"The pitch has always been where I've been able to express myself the most, where I feel happiest, and I was deprived of that opportunity at Chelsea. There were times when I was sat at home, very upset, and I fell out of love with the game.

"In every job, you want to be able to do what you love, and it's the hardest thing to accept when someone takes it away from you.

"I was scared, I wasn't sure about the future and I'm thankful to God that I had my family behind me. In the end, I was so happy that I was able to go on loan to Bolton [in January 2011] and prove to myself, 'I can still do this.'

"It's difficult when you are not playing for so long. Young players do get wrapped up when they are at a big club and they are not playing, so it's been a whirlwind 15 months since I joined Liverpool.

"First and foremost, I feel blessed that I'm at a club where I can push myself to the limit, always listening to my team-mates and especially the manager. This is a time in my life I'll always remember because of everything that's gone on in the past."


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