Liverpool v Cardiff
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes even Luis Suarez, with his controversial history at the club, deserves a shot at redemption and he had no qualms about naming him as stand-in captain.
The Uruguay international took the armband for Sunday’s 5-0 win at Tottenham in the absence of the injured Steven Gerrard and with vice-captain Daniel Agger on the bench.
Some questioned whether a player who in nearly three years at the club has had lengthy suspensions for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra (seven games) and biting Branislav Ivanovic (10 games), and had tried to force a move away in the summer was deserving of such an honour, especially at a club which had such proud traditions and some exemplary leaders.
Bur Rodgers believes the 26-year-old has matured significantly since his most recent ban earlier this year and is keen to give Suarez a chance to make amends.
His 17 goals in 11 games to be the leading Premier League goalscorer, firing the Reds into second place, has gone some way to doing that.
And with the club desperate to keep the striker — managing director Ian Ayre flew to Barcelona this week to open talks over a new contract — Rodgers will hope any vote of confidence he can give will be reciprocated.
“You have seen his performances and conduct,” he said. “Whenever you choose the captain for a team or a club you always analyse lots of things that happen on and off the field.
“We all make mistakes and you would hate to think he would be punished for a lifetime because of that.
“This is a guy who has made a mistake and what he has shown is he is a learner in response to that.”
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