Rodgers: Suarez situation at Liverpool made me a better manager
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers explained how handling the long-running summer transfer saga of Luis Suarez to Arsenal did nothing but improve him as a manager. Liverpool thrashed Arsenal 5-1, with Liverpool up 4-0 after only 20 minutes in a match in which Wojciech Szczesny and Arsene Wenger called the Gunners' performance "embarrassing" and "poor" respectively.
"Yes. When you're doing your coaching courses and badges, you don't get these types of scenarios," Rodgers said speaking of the Suarez situation. "It's how you deal with them that can make you. The modern game now is about the man-management side of things."
"My natural environment is on the field, coaching. That's what I've done all my life. But there's absolutely no doubt that the man-management aspect of it is something that's important," he added. "What you have to do is always respect your players, but hope that you can find the common ground that allows the club to take advantage of some of the great players that we can have."
"And from that moment, I knew with Luis that once we ended the speculation with him, it would be fine. I've never known a player like him in training. This guy genuinely loves football, and that's continually, whether it's summer or winter, whatever," he finished.
Liverpool remain in fourth spot, three points above Tottenham in the race for the final Champions League. Spurs manager Tim Sherwood said that the top three of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City would remain the top three. And though he believes they could still catch Liverpool, the Reds were still favorite to finish there.
"The top three are too far away to catch," he said. "You always strive to get as far as you possibly can, but the three teams we are talking about don't look like dropping any points," Sherwood said. "Newcastle will be in there if they get a favourable result this weekend. We play them in midweek, and if they beat us they are still in it."
"It's open for any team to put a run together. There are teams up and around that spot who can put a nice run together and elevate themselves," he added. "Liverpool are favourites [to finish fourth] because they are in that spot at the moment, but we still have to go to Anfield and that will be a crucial game. We just need to make sure that we are in that position that we are in with a fighting chance when we get there -- and I fully expect us to do that."
Liverpool still have yet to host Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham in the league as well as a trip to Old Trafford. Tottenham on the other hand go to Stamford Bridge, Anfield and host Arsenal all in the month of March. Odds are one of Liverpool or Tottenham will end up with the final Champions League place, and it might well be settled March 30 when Spurs visit Anfield.