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Feb 6, 2012

Dalglish: Suarez returns a better player

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish believes Luis Suarez will come back a better player after his eight-game suspension for the use of racist language towards Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

• Bond: Suarez will boost Liverpool
• Gerrard: Suarez will lift Reds

Suarez is back in the ranks for Monday night's home game against Tottenham Hotspur, his first appearance since the 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers on Boxing Day.

In some respects the ban may aid Liverpool, as it gave Suarez a much-needed rest after playing continuous football for two years at the World Cup and the Copa America in the previous two summers.

"I think he has learned something over the time he's been out," Dalglish said. "I think you learn something every time you go to your bed, whether it's good, bad or indifferent is open to conjecture.

"We are just glad to get him back, so we are not going to go over old ground. It's amazing how now he's coming back we are talking about something that's not related to his abilities or the goals he's scored, but we want to concentrate on that now.

"For us, we are much stronger as a squad of players and a football club with Luis on our side - back fit and well and ready to play - and he is fit and he'll want to play, won't he? But he's learned something, I'm sure."

Dalglish will now have the chance to play Suarez, Andy Carroll and Steven Gerrard together. The trio have spent just 69 minutes on the pitch at the same time in the last 12 months due to injury and suspension.

Dalglish said: "We'd better put them together in training then to see if we can play them all together. But they have been injured at different times. If they weren't there, they couldn't play together.

"I look forward to them having a run in the team together. I didn't know Stevie, Luis and Andy have played so infrequently together. It's positive that we have that to look forward to and they are looking better.

"Andy is looking strong now - he was running strong at the end of the Wolves game. Steven was overworked in the run up to the Wolves game, while the wee man is fit and available now and so the level of fitness of the three of them is a lot better than it has been.

On the chances of Suarez fitting straight back into the starting line-up, Dalglish added: "There is a lot to be taken into consideration. The way the other boys have played without him and the fact he's not played for a month will also be taken into consideration.

"Luis got a rest in the summer, but he has had a lot of games. His fitness will not be a problem. There are no guarantees, one way or the other. There is no guarantee he will play, but neither are there any he won't play.

"After five or six weeks out it's not automatic someone will come straight back into the team. It depends on the individual, and it depends also on our needs and what we think, not just about who we have available, but who we are playing against as well."

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