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Liverpool's Suso sidelined after groin op

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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Mar 22, 2014

Rodgers hails hat trick hero Luis Suarez

Brendan Rodgers has hailed Luis Suarez's "remarkable" performance after the Uruguay striker netted a hat trick in Liverpool's 6-3 win at Cardiff to keep their premier League title hopes alive.

Luis Suarez scored three times as Liverpool triumphed at Cardiff.
Luis Suarez's hat trick at Cardiff takes him to 28 Premier League goals for the 2013-14 season.

The Anfield club found life difficult against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Bluebirds on Saturday afternoon, twice falling behind in the first half before scoring four second-half goals to stay second behind table-toppers Chelsea.

Suarez, 27, netted three to take his tally to 28 premier League goals for the season -- equalling Robbie Fowler's club record in a single season -- and Rodgers has backed the club to keep believing in a title charge.

Kelly: Liverpool meet challenge head on

"[Suarez] is a remarkable player. His determination and his desire is at such a high level. He gets his rewards," Rodgers told his postmatch news conference.

"For his first goal, he made a run in behind and he didn't receive the ball. He played himself back onside and after that little spell of possession, we get in behind their defence.

"It's a great cross by Glen Johnson and he's there to finish. If he doesn't, Daniel Sturridge finishes.

"He's a world-class player, who is enjoying his football and long may it continue."

Rodgers also praised the performance of centre-back Martin Skrtel, who netted Liverpool's second and third goals to make it six for the season for the Slovakia international.

"Every team needs goals from everywhere on the pitch," continued Rodgers. "I think that was one of the things I said at the beginning of the season. The defenders have to chip in.

"That's the sixth goal [Skrtel] has scored this season. I said to him before the game that I fancied him to get some goals today.

"He's great at attacking the ball. He doesn't go to sleep for the first goal. He finishes like a striker. He was exceptional today. He's been a real stalwart for us this season."

Daniel Sturridge was also on the receiving end of encouraging words from the Anfield boss, with the England international netting his side's fifth and setting up Suarez with an impudent backheel.

"You saw [Sturridge's] will and determination to get into the box for his goal; wonderful strength and power by Glen Johnson to outstrength young Fabio, and then he hits a wonderful pass off his left foot, 50 yards," Rodgers said.

"Luis [Suarez] takes it down and Daniel [Sturridge] has run 70 metres to get into the box. It just shows you the desire of the team. His back-heel to create Luis' goal was sensational.

"That's what we've got in the team -- footballers and technicians that can open up the game for us, we can control the ball. We had large spells of possession which frustrated Cardiff."

Rodgers rejected the suggestion that his side are simply looking to outscore the opposition after conceding three goals against Cardiff, and believes his side have grown in confidence during his reign.

"Look at our imagination and creativity today; you sensed the crowd felt that every time we were in their half, we could score," Rodgers continued.

"That's a wonderful recognition of the type of team that we are. We're certainly not a team that's not worried about defending, that's not the case at all."

Rodgers continued to dampen title speculation, insisting that his side must simply look to overcome Sunderland on Wednesday -- but backed the club's fans to keep 'dreaming' of silverware.

"Wednesday [against Sunderland] will be a great night for us," he added. "That's all we can focus on. The fans can believe and dream.

"And when you come to see your team play away from home and they score six goals, you've got every right to do that. They've been a big part of our success this year."

Solskjaer, meanwhile, believes the turning point was when Skrtel headed in Liverpool's third with Jordan Mutch and Kevin Theophile-Catherine both off the pitch after receiving treatment.

"We're disappointed we didn't get anything," he told his postmatch news conference. "We were fantastic in the first half.

"We had them exactly where we wanted; we tested their defence -- when you play against an attacking side such as them you have to test their backline and I think that’s what they did.

“We had spaces in a few places and got some fantastic goals. Liverpool didn’t come up with much in the first-half, chances-wise.

"The display once again was good. We feel hard done by with the third goal though, two of our players were off the pitch."

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