Football: Liverpool have gone backwards without Suarez, admits Rodgers

Barcelona's players Luis Suarez smiles during a training session at Joan Gamper training camp, near Barcelona. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Barcelona's players Luis Suarez smiles during a training session at Joan Gamper training camp, near Barcelona. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (AFP) - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted his side have stalled this season in the absence of last season's Premier League Player of the Year Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan scored 31 goals as Liverpool came within three points of winning their first league title in 24 years before joining Barcelona in July for a reported £75 million (S$154 million) in July.

"I signed a three-year contract with the objective of fighting for the league and we almost won it in our second year," Rodgers said in an interview with Madrid sports daily AS on Monday ahead of his side's Champions League meeting with Real Madrid on Wednesday.

"But the team's natural progression has stalled this summer with the departure of Luis Suarez and the arrival of new players."

Liverpool have won only four of their opening eight Premier League games and were desperately lucky to emerge victorious against bottom club Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, as the Londoners scored two own goals in a 3-2 defeat.

Rodgers remains bullish that he can restore the club to its former glories, but also hinted that he too could be lured to La Liga in the future.

"Hopefully I can work one day in Spain. I speak and I have studied Spanish, but I need to improve. I speak it with my Spanish players.

"I am just 41 and there are many things I want to achieve at Liverpool, where I want to be for another 20 years or more. But one day I would like to experience Spain, it's a marvellous culture and magnificent clubs."