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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Ferdinand: Treat Suarez as an enemy

Rio Ferdinand has said England's Liverpool players must treat club colleague Luis Suarez as an enemy when the two sides meet on Thursday.

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Captain Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson could come up against Suarez in a crucial Group D encounter for both England and Uruguay after respective opening-game defeats to Italy and Costa Rica.

Doubts remain over the fitness of Suarez, an unused substitute in Uruguay's shock 3-1 loss on Saturday, but coach Oscar Tabarez has said he has a chance of facing Roy Hodgson's side.

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

"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."

Former England captain Ferdinand also hailed Sterling for his performance in the Italy game.

The winger was a constant threat as England played some bright football, and Ferdinand wrote: "Sterling was a breath of fresh air, attacking without fear, taking people on, going for goal, playing like he's enjoying trying to win."

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