• 'I spent all summer fearing Uruguayan might leave Anfield'
• Midfielder hails striker's commitment to Liverpool since ban
Steven Gerrard has praised Luis Suárez's response to being denied a transfer to Arsenal and admitted he spent all summer fearing Liverpool had seen the last of the gifted striker.
Suárez marked his first Premier League appearance since April with two goals in Liverpool's 3-1 win at Sunderland on Sunday, a victory that lifted Brendan Rodgers's team to second in the table.
While the Uruguay international's talent has never been questioned, his commitment to Liverpool has been under scrutiny since his return from a 10-match suspension after the Anfield club blocked his attempts to join Arsenal in the summer. Gerrard insists those doubts have been banished by Suárez's efforts in training and his two outings against Sunderland and Manchester United.
The Liverpool captain said: "I think you have to give credit to Luis for the way he has come back. A lot of players who have been in his position might have come back and spat the dummy out, not trying for the team, but he is not that type of guy.
"He realised that the club wanted to keep him and he has respected their decision. He is here now and he wants to stay. He wants to achieve something this season and he looks as hungry as he has ever done." Gerrard concedes that he doubted whether efforts to convince the 26-year-old to remain at Anfield during the last transfer window would succeed. Asked if he worried that Liverpool had seen the last of Suárez, Gerrard said: "Every day in the summer. When you have a player as good as Luis Suárez, you know that the big clubs are going to want him. I was waking up every morning, hoping that nothing would happen and that he would still be here.
"Nobody tried harder than me to do that [convince him to stay] and he knows exactly what I think of him. I knew if we could keep him here, the better our chances would be. He is a special type of footballer and he gives us something different. When the club got the message to him that they were not going to sell him, he got his head down and has worked hard. He has never given us a moment's problem." Suárez and Daniel Sturridge led Liverpool back up the Premier League on Sunday after two league games and a Capital One Cup tie without a win and Gerrard believes Rodgers's team can remain a threat this season.
He said: "Everyone is taking points off one another and I'm sure other teams are taking note that we are a threat to them. But to be honest, I'm not too bothered about what people are saying about us. I know what this team is capable of. The main thing for us is to keep fighting and show that we are capable of staying in these positions to around Christmas time and then we will see where that takes us.
"We have gone away to two tough places in Aston Villa and Sunderland and taken maximum points. It's very important that we get ourselves into a good position because there is nothing worse than going into the new year having left yourself too much to do. We want to make sure that we go into the next international break with another three points to ensure that we are in a fabulous position."