Suarez still walks alone

Liverpool XI 0 Glasgow Celtic XI 1

Suarez still walks alone

And the experience doubtless left more than a few followers of the Boys In Green present to wistfully echo the thoughts of Van Morrison – wouldn’t it be great if it was like this all the time?

One man most definitely still walking alone, however, is Luis Suarez, as Brendan Rodgers has again made clear after seeing his strong side beaten 1-0 by a mainly second-string Celtic selection – captained for the day by the homecoming Anthony Stokes — before a full house of 51,000, the Liverpool manager going on to detail what will be required of the wantaway striker if he is to fully rehabilitate himself at Anfield.

“I think initially there’ll be a recognition that an apology to his team-mates and the club (is due),” said Rodgers. “And then (we’ll need to see) that commitment to fight like he’s always done – Luis Suarez from the day I walked in here has fought tirelessly for the club.

“When I see how he’s been over a period of time, I know he’s not the Luis Suarez that we know. I have to protect the fans, the great supporters of this club and the players, because they deserve more than that.

“He has spent some days working on his own and I think that when he comes back from his international trip we’ll assess it from there.”

The Uruguayan may have been sent to Coventry but Rodgers reiterated he’s definitely not going to Arsenal – nor, for that matter, does he expect him to go further afield.

While Liverpool owner John W Henry was in Dublin for Saturday’s game, Rodgers said that there had been no need for them to speak again about the situation.

“I spoke with John when we were in Oslo during the week and we’re all on the same page,” he said. “We’re adamant he won’t be going to Arsenal, that’s for sure. And we want to keep him. Could he still go abroad? Well, there’s been lots of speculation about all these clubs. I was made aware at the end of last season that we were going to have all these clubs come in for him. And we had one. And that’s been it. Our intention is to keep Luis Suarez so the story is the same.”

While Rodgers was keen to accentuate the positives of defeat by Celtic – noting that “we’ve got some top players here” and then, perhaps tellingly, identifying them as “the likes of Steven Gerrard and Phillipe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge” – he insisted Liverpool’s failure to convert a hatful of chances did not serve merely to underline the importance to the cause of the absent Suarez.

“Not really, no,” he said. “Luis missed a load of games at the end of last season and we continued to score and win without him. That’s not to say that we don’t want him. He’s a world-class striker and when he’s committed to the cause of playing for Liverpool we’ll welcome him back with open arms. Yes we created chances and just couldn’t score but it’s something I’m sure we’ll improve on, as we showed last year.”

For his part, Celtic boss Neil Lennon was delighted with the victory claimed by what was effectively a B-team — and especially with the match-winning contribution of new Portuguese signing Amido Balde.

Lennon said: “He was immense and I thought he gave (Kolo) Toure and (Andre) Wisdom all sorts of problems,” said Lennon. “He was aggressive, strong, quick, he took his goal great and gave us a real platform to play from. He is a different side to what we have had – we have not had that physical presence since John Hartson and Chris Sutton.”

With a Champions League date away to Shakhter Karagandy looming large for the Celts, Lennon said he plans to talk to officials from St Patrick’s Athletic who have previously made the same long trip to Khazakhstan. And the manager added: “We have already spoken to people from the FAI as the national team has played out there as well, and they have given us a few pointers in that direction.”

Lennon also said the club are also working hard to bring in another player before tonight’s European deadline.

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