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Aug 25, 2012

Suarez eager to put Evra row behind him

Luis Suarez has declared that he wants to leave the Patrice Evra race row in the past and focus on firing Liverpool into the Champions League.

Suarez was banned for eight games and fined £40,000 after the FA found him guilty of racially abusing the Manchester United defender during a Premier League game last October.

Having served his ban, Suarez raised tensions further when he refused to shake Evra's hand as the teams lined up before the return fixture at Old Trafford in February.

Suarez subsequently apologised for his part in the handshake row, although continued to declare his innocence of the racism charge.

Having committed his future to Liverpool by signing a long-term contract, the 25-year-old wants to put the past behind him.

"People spoke for the sake of speaking and didn't know what they were talking about," he told the Guardian. "Some people said what suited them. But that's in the past now.

"They punished me, I shut up and I forget it, I want to leave it now. It's in the past. I'd prefer not to keep talking about it, otherwise it will never end."

Suarez believes that Liverpool are capable of significant improvement on last season's eight-place finish as they chase Champions League football.

"I recognise that the season wasn't very good for us last year in the league," he said. "A team like Liverpool always wants to be in the Champions League. That is where it should be.

"I've still got hopes that we can make the Champions League this season. That is where I dream of playing for at least one season with Liverpool."

Suarez feels that, despite starting the league season with a 3-0 defeat at West Brom, Liverpool are heading in the right direction under new manager Brendan Rodgers.

He said: "Obviously, we're not going to play like Barcelona but the aim is similar.

"The manager has been studying in Spain, in Barcelona itself, and he was in Holland too, where they play good football. The idea is nice, my team-mates are very happy with it.

"The idea is to have the ball all the time, to pressure to get it back. Keep the ball, don't panic, look for the spaces at the right time, don't play so fast, so desperately, as we did last season.

"It is a new season, we have a new coach, a new idea, a new style that is different to the one we had before and that's difficult. It will work, but it will take time."

Suarez added that the support from the club, and from former manager Kenny Dalglish, had been vital in the months following the Evra row.

He added: "What matters is the people I know and Liverpool always supported me. Whenever my wife or I came across people at the club or out in the street, they were good to us.

"That made us feel wanted and comfortable. That was important in deciding to continue.

"Last year good things happened as well as bad ones. The manager (Kenny Dalglish) always supported me, he kept putting me in the team, he kept faith in me always, the players defended me as well. The press might have talked but I always felt entirely backed by the people around me."

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