Jordan Henderson said he still speaks to “quite close” friend Luis Suarez ahead of the Uruguayan’s return to Anfield on Wednesday.
Suarez and his Atletico Madrid side face the Reds in the Champions League group stages, two weeks after Liverpool ran out 3-2 winners in an entertaining first clash in the Spanish capital.
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Former Reds forward Suarez came on as a substitute in that game, but he could be in line for a start at Anfield in place of the suspended Antoine Griezmann – who was sent off two weeks ago.
Suarez played with Henderson for three seasons at Anfield, having signed for the club six months prior to Henderson’s arrival in 2011.
A decade on, the England midfielder has captained Liverpool to Premier League and Champions League triumphs, with the Reds beating Barcelona in the semi-finals of the latter competition in 2019 on what was Suarez’s first competitive return to Anfield since his departure.
Henderson says Suarez has been a big influence on his career, and is looking forward to seeing him on Wednesday.
“We all know he’s a top player for a long time,” he said at the pre-Atletico press conference on Tuesday.
“He produced so many good moments at Liverpool and I learned a lot from him.
“I’m quite close to him, he’s a world-class player, and he causes problems in and around the goal.
“We have to be on guard, not only against him but Luis is a top striker.
“We don’t speak that often, but we do now and again to see how his family are doing.
“He helped us a lot with the mentality side of it in training, he always wanted to win and he played through pain barriers, he just wanted to play.
“I took a lot from him. He helped me massively.”
Suarez was jeered by Reds fans in that Barcelona semi-final as Liverpool mounted their remarkable comeback from three goals down to win 4-3 on aggregate, with supporters revelling in the misery experienced by the Uruguayan, his fellow ex-Liverpool man Philippe Coutinho and Lionel Messi.
But Henderson thinks the forward will get a good reception after the match on Wednesday.
“Yeah, I think so,” he said.
“What he did while he was here was outstanding. The fans know that.
“After the game, maybe, that would be nice to get a nice reception from the crowd.”
Having won their first three games of the group stage, Liverpool know that a victory will secure qualification for the knockout stages with two games to spare.
Should Porto fail to beat AC Milan in Wednesday’s earlier kick-off then a win would also ensure that Liverpool win the group.
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