Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has labelled Luis Suarez “world class” and believes the forward will be crucial for the club this season.
The Uruguay international featured in his first Premier League match since April on Sunday after serving a 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, marking his return in style with a brace in Liverpool’s 3-1 triumph over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
And Lucas stressed that the 26-year-old will be vital for the Anfield outfit as they look to challenge for silverware in 2013-14.
Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “He is showing again just how good he is.
“He is a world-class player and it is so important to have players like that if you want to fight for good things this season.
“Hopefully he will have another fantastic season for us like he did last year.”
The former Ajax forward was heavily linked with a move away from Liverpool in the close-season, with Premier League rivals Arsenal having two bids rejected.
But Lucas feel Suarez’s display at Sunderland confirms his loyalty to Liverpool.
He added: “Luis showed with his performance that he is really committed to the team and to the club. He just wants to help us, and we will try to help him too.”
Daniel Sturridge took his tally in the Premier League this season to five goals in six games when he opened the scoring on Sunday.
And Lucas is excited by the blossoming partnership between the England international and Suarez.
“When Dan (Sturridge) arrived here, within a few months Luis got the ban so they didn’t have much chance to play many games together,” he continued.
“But you could see (at Sunderland) how well they linked up. The understanding between them is really good and it will only get better.
“It will improve over the course of the season and hopefully they will keep helping us with goals and assists.”