LIVERPOOL captain Steven Gerrard claims striker Luis Suarez transforms from a quiet family man into a fighter the moment he steps onto the pitch.
The Uruguay international scored his 20th goal of the season – the first Reds player to do so since Fernando Torres in 2009-10 – in the weekend’s 5-0 win over Norwich City.
Suarez, who turns 26 on Thursday, has become a talisman for the side, easing the burden on Gerrard who has carried the club for the best part of a decade.
Suarez has attracted his fair share of criticism too, but Gerrard believes the general portrayal of his team-mate is often inaccurate.
“He is very quiet in the dressing room and around the place,” said the England captain.
“He is a family man: every time you ask him what he is doing he is with his family.
“When he comes onto the pitch he turns into a fighter, he turns into a winner.
“I think he is world class. He has everything and we are very lucky to have him in our team and at our club.”
Suarez is only two goals behind Manchester United striker Robin van Persie (18) in the running for the Premier League top scorer and Gerrard believes he should also be in contention for the player of the year award.
“I certainly hope so, he deserves that accolade,” said the 32-year-old. “I’d go as far as to say he’s probably the best player I’ve played with, which is some accolade considering the players I’ve played with – some fantastic players.
“I’ve played with world-class players – Fernando Torres, Jamie Carragher, Gary McAllister – but Luis Suarez is probably top of that pile.”