Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that he has a special fitness plan for striker Luis Suarez so that he can make his long-awaited return as soon as his ban is over.
The Uruguayan is currently serving a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic last season and is expected to return to first-team action next week when Liverpool play Manchester United in the Capital One Cup.
However, the problem with serving such a long ban is the lack of match action, but according to Rodger, Suarez has been taking part in behind-closed-doors games and The Reds boss has a plan to get the striker as fit as possible, as soon as possible.
‘We tried to map something out over the period he’s been out,’ said Rodgers. ‘He’s played some games in pre-season, but when the league got started we organised some 11 v 11 matches behind closed doors, both among ourselves and bringing teams in.
‘He’s had international games as well that have kept him ticking over. He’s been doing a lot of specific work to replicate what he would do in a game, high-intensity work. It’s never quite the same as a game but at least he’s getting the work.
‘So if he does 1,000 high-intensity runs in a game, he’s been replicating that in training. There are things such as the crowd, the anxiety that you can’t replicate. But what you can at least do is put him to a level of fitness where his numbers are replicated and that keeps him at a high level.
‘The idea is that when we bring him back, it will be very smooth. There’ll be a transitional period. I’m really looking forward to having him back. He’s working his socks off. At the end of sections he’s getting tagged on to do specific work and he’s flushing himself out to the max to be as fit as he can.’
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt