(Reuters) – Liverpool’s pursuit of a top-four Premier League finish this season can really take off with a win against third-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, according to red-hot striker Luis Suarez.
Liverpool, in seventh, are 10 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and 12 in arrears of Spurs with 10 games to go in another mediocre season where Suarez’s goalscoring has been the highlight.
The Uruguayan scored a hat-trick in his last outing against Wigan Athletic despite carrying an injury that manager Brendan Rodgers said would have forced "nine out of 10" players out of the game.
"We’ve been in good form recently and it’s a good opportunity to reduce the gap between ourselves and Spurs," said Suarez, who with 21 goals leads the Premier League scoring charts by two from Manchester United’s Robin van Persie.
"There is a slight chance we can make Champions League football – and if we want to do that, this is the sort of game we need to win," added Suarez on the club’s website (www.liverpoolfc.com) ahead of the 1600 GMT clash at Anfield.
Liverpool last played in the Champions League in the 2009/10 season after memorably winning the trophy in 2005 and then making the 2007 final.
Suarez said Liverpool’s performances have improved after bolstering the squad in January with attacking options in Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho.
Liverpool have scored nine goals without conceding in drubbing Swansea and Wigan in their last two league games.
"Things have been going really well with Daniel, but not only him – there’s also Philippe. They have both brought something and maybe given us an extra cutting edge.
"The lads who were here before their arrival were doing a fantastic job, but now we have more options as a team."
Rodgers paid tribute to Suarez for keeping the team in the hunt for European places while stating that Liverpool’s form is up there with the best in the league.
"He’s a remarkable man. I’ve been asked before about the player of the year award – if we’re talking about football, this is a guy that has consistently done it this season," said the manager.
"What I’ve also admired from close hand is that this is a guy who is also trying to change. He’s trying to turn around his life and adapt to the culture, and you can clearly see that. He’s incredible to work with."
Rodgers said based on Liverpool’s last 14 games their points haul would put them third in the league compared to their first 14 fixtures, when they were languishing in 12th.
"The tipping point now is that it’s going more for us than against us. We’ve played a lot of really good games this season and maybe weren’t as cohesively good then as we are now."
(Writing by Tom Pilcher, editing by Justin Palmer)
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