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 By Mike Whalley

Suarez confident of World Cup fitness

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez insists he will be fit to play a part in Uruguay's World Cup campaign.

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Suarez, 27, is recovering from surgery after damaging the meniscus in his left knee during a pre-tournament training session on May 22.

The forward, who was the Premier League's top scorer in 2013-14, returned to light training on Friday and was able to do some jogging and stretching exercises during a 25-minute work-out.

Both Uruguay's coach Oscar Tabarez and the country's football association, the AUF, have been reluctant to put a timescale on Suarez's recovery and there has been no word as to whether he will be ready to figure in his nation's World Cup Group D opener against Costa Rica this weekend.

But Suarez, who scored 31 goals to help Liverpool finish second in the Premier League, has declared he is well on the way back to full fitness.

He told the Guardian: "Emotionally, I've felt fine; psychologically, I've been spectacular. At no time did I feel pressured, at no time have I felt sad because at no point did I think there was a chance of me missing the World Cup.

"The thought never went through my mind. I could have really cried [in pain] because of this injury but I didn't because I knew. I knew.

"When the doctor first spoke to me, three little tears fell -- but no more. My wife said: 'I can't believe how strong you're being.' But I knew I'd make it.

"What you don't know is how the knee will react. Today, I could say to you: 'Yeah, I'll make it to the first game.' Or: 'No, I prefer to wait for the second or the third.' But you only know for sure as you progress and you see how the knee reacts.

"You can reach the 20th day [of recovery] and think, 'I'm flying here,' but then that day your knee swells up and everything slows down. For as long as the knee resists and there's no pain, so long as the quadriceps strengthen, you're OK."

Uruguay's second game in Group D is against England on Thursday, June 19, when Suarez could line up against Liverpool teammates Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Glen Johnson.

“When the doctor first spoke to me, three little tears fell -- but no more... I knew I'd make it”

Suarez said: "I saw reports saying that I had told the Liverpool players I would make it for the game against England, for sure. But I didn't say that.

"The day of the operation, I exchanged messages with Stevie and Glen. They said: 'Hope to see you in Brazil.' And I said: 'Yeah, see you there.' That's not exactly the same thing. I never said I'd definitely be there.

"This is the game everyone is looking forward to most here. It's incredible to see how Uruguayans have followed Liverpool; they've become fans and that makes me feel very proud.

"To see an entire country waiting on the Liverpool games is incredible or to see people angry because they can't watch it because it's only on satellite TV. People are getting up early in the morning to watch us play."

Suarez warned England that they have vulnerabilities that Uruguay can exploit, adding: "They do have weaknesses at the back and I know what they are. I won't be saying [what they are publicly]... but in the Uruguay squad, I will."


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