Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says he has become a better manager, after the trials and tribulations Luis Suarez has put him through.
Suarez is the best player Rodgers has to work with, and the Reds boss builds his attacking play around the feisty Uruguayan’s irrepressible abilities.
But while Suarez delivers the goods on the field, it has not always been easy for Rodgers.
Early in his Liverpool career, Rodgers defended Suarez over allegations of diving, only for him to later own up to play acting.
Then came Suarez’s 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic, which threatened to derail Rodgers’ steady improvement at Anfield last season.
Next was the striker’s petulant flirtation with Arsenal at the beginning of the current campaign, when he sought to force through the Gunners’ cheeky £40 million + £1 transfer bid.
As it happened, Suarez remained at Liverpool, where he is once again proving to be one of the best- if not the best- attacking talents in the English Premier League.
Rodgers is clearly happy that Suarez remains his player to work with, and he even believes that putting out the fires the striker routinely starts has been good for his own development as a gaffer.
"Some of the things [Suarez] has done, he knows was wrong," Rodgers told ESPN.
"Some of them have been really testing situations as a manager … there's been some challenging moments. Seventeen months on as I sit here, I'm a much better manager for that experience."
Happily for Rodgers and Liverpool, the Reds boss says the striker is no longer agitated at Anfield.
"I believe so," he said, when asked if Suarez is content to stay. "There's no club that is bigger than Liverpool. I think Luis now respects that decision because he's very happy here, and improving all the time."
The manager says that Suarez’s desire to quit for Arsenal has been nipped in the bud, and he insists that there is no clause in the player’s contract enabling him to leave if the Reds fail to qualify for the Champions League at the end of the season.
"There is nothing in place," he said. "[Luis] is very important but it's the team that will get us there, not one player."
Meanwhile, with Liverpool in contention to return to the top of the Premier League table at the weekend if results go their way, Rodgers thinks the future is bright at Anfield.
He admits that there is still a gulf between Liverpool and other leading clubs, but is adamant that their current good form is far from their true potential.
“I think it's an exciting thought that we haven't got near our full potential yet but we've collected the points," he said.