Kuyt praise for Suarez
Published 09/05/2011 | 07:32
Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt believes his burgeoning partnership with Luis Suarez has contributed to their recent good run.
Kuyt has played alongside the £22.8million January signing in the last eight Barclays Premier League matches. Not all of those occasions have been as a front two as Suarez's fellow transfer deadline day arrival Andy Carroll has also featured, but injury to the England international meant they have been paired together for the last two victories over Birmingham and Newcastle.
Eight goals scored and none conceded in those outings point to successes all over the pitch, although what has stood out is the way Kuyt and Suarez have combined. "Although we are different players and offer different skills we are both hard workers," said Kuyt.
The Dutchman extended his goalscoring run to four success matches against Newcastle, and eight in his last seven league appearances. Suarez won the penalty from which Kuyt scored against the Magpies and the favour was returned as the Urguayan international hit his third goal for the Reds from his partner's lay-off.
He added: "Kenny (Dalglish) has emphasised to us that he wants us to press high up the pitch and that has suited us. We also sometimes speak Dutch together on the pitch (Suarez was signed from Ajax) and that makes life more difficult for the opposition."
Kuyt is the club's leading scorer with 14, 10 of which have come since Dalglish replaced Roy Hodgson as manager in early January. He believes the start of the new year was a key point not only for the club but for him personally.
Kuyt was a losing World Cup finalist in South Africa last summer and he feels the knock-on effect of returning back late for pre-season training and almost 22 months of football without a proper break took its toll. "I had just a few weeks off and then came back to Liverpool and suffered a couple of injuries," he added.
"It was the first time in my Liverpool career I was getting little injuries and my form wasn't how I wanted it to be. Since January it has been different. I have felt a lot stronger physically and the manager has given the team a lot of confidence."
Liverpool head to Fulham on Monday night looking to regain fifth place in the Barclays Premier League from Tottenham. Defender Fabio Aurelio (hamstring) and forward Milan Jovanovic (knee) are close to a return after injury but Dalglish may opt to stick with the same squad he put out against Newcastle.
Goalkeeper Jose Reina is set for his 150th consecutive league match, having last missed a game on the final day of the 2007 season just before the Champions League final, while Jamie Carragher will play his 666th Liverpool game - taking him second on the all-time appearance list.