Premier League - Rodgers ready for Suarez lift

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hopes the "massive lift" the impending return of suspended striker Luis Suarez will bring can offset the loss of creative midfielder Philippe Coutinho.

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Luis Suarez

The 21-year-old Brazilian on Thursday had surgery on a shoulder injury sustained in Monday's draw at Swansea and is expected to be sidelined until the end of October.

Suarez's 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic will end after the visit of Southampton this weekend and the Uruguay international will go straight into contention for a potentially-explosive Capital One Cup tie at Manchester United on Wednesday.

With Coutinho having provided much of the Reds' attacking invention in a unbeaten league run, spanning two seasons, of 12 matches the Reds should have a ready-made substitute raring to go.

"He (Suarez) has just been working hard and he has done some games behind closed doors," said Rodgers.

"He serves the last of his ban at the weekend and we will talk more next week when he's available.

"Any team from next week on, once he is available, will be a massive lift."

The loss of Coutinho will impact on Liverpool to some degree as the playmaker has been at the heart of much of their best attacking play both this season and towards the end of last.

He is highly rated by Rodgers, who signed him from Inter Milan for B£8.5million in January, and although the manager is confident he can find someone to play in his place it is unlikely to be a like-for-like replacement.

"Obviously Philippe is one of the best number 10s in the league; how he plays in between the lines, how he finds space on the back of the midfield players, his incisive passing and the weight of his passing is exceptional," said the Reds boss.

"That is what has made him a big start in the league so far but we have other players who have those qualities who maybe play in different positions and that is something we will look at.

"We have players who are flexible; that was my idea for the top end of the field and they are not nailed down to one position.

"We have players who are capable of playing in those roles. Each individual player brings his own quality to the position but because of the types of players we bring in a lot of them will be technically gifted."

Rodgers noticed a difference in their play during the short period Liverpool played without Coutinho at the Liberty Stadium, where the Brazilian was injured in a fall after a tackle by Ashley Williams although no blame was attached to the Swansea defender.

"The challenge was probably a bit clumsy but it was actually more the fall that did the damage," said Rodgers.

"In those scenarios the bone may be bruised but unfortunately for Philippe the bone came through the muscle - that's what the pain was and why the operation was needed.

"It's unfortunate because he was a really pivotal player for us in the game.

"When he went, we lost that connection between our midfield and the front line, it disrupted our balance a bit.

"These things happen in football. Hopefully he'll recover quickly and come back to us in good shape."

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