Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has revealed how “every day” in the off-season he feared that Luis Suarez would leave the club.
The Reds ended last season on a high, with the signs suggesting that this campaign could see them fight for a return to the Champions League.
As top-scorer for the club, Suarez had been so important to Liverpool’s cause. And in spite of his bad reputation, Gerrard could not bear to imagine how the Uruguayan’s exit could set the Reds back, especially as he flirted with Premier League rivals Arsenal.
"Every day in the summer,” Gerrard admitted, when asked by the Guardian if he thought Suarez would leave.
“When you have a player as good as Luis Suarez, you know that the big clubs are going to want him. I was waking up every morning, hoping that nothing would happen and that he would still be here."
Gerrard says that he took it upon himself as skipper to make sure Suarez knew excatly how valuable he is to Liverpool’s cause.
And backed by the club’s tough stance, the skipper was delighted when Suarez buckled down to stay.
"Nobody tried harder than me to do that and he knows exactly what I think of him. I knew if we could keep him here, the better our chances would be,” Gerrard said.
"He is a special type of footballer and he gives us something different. When the club got the message to him that they were not going to sell him, he got his head down and has worked hard. He has never given us a moment's problem."
Suarez is now back in the fold after his biting ban, and his time spent sulking in the doldrums.
Immediately, his connection with his team-mates appears never to have been dented, and Gerrard is clearly happy to have the goal harrier back in tow.
"I think you have to give credit to Luis for the way he has come back," he said.
"A lot of players who have been in his position might have come back and spat the dummy out, not trying for the team, but he is not that type of guy.
"He realised that the club wanted to keep him and he has respected their decision. He is here now and he wants to stay. He wants to achieve something this season and he looks as hungry as he has ever done."