Rodgers confident Suarez will stay

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers remains confident his star striker will not be tempted by the bright lights of the Champions League.

Luis Suarez, Liverpool

The Uruguay international scored a hat-trick, after Stewart Downing had opened the scoring with a second-minute header, as Wigan were dispatched 4-0 at the DW Stadium.

Suarez took his tally in the Premier League to 21 - 28 for the season - and two ahead of Manchester United's Robin van Persie in the race for the golden boot.

But while his Dutch rival is guaranteed a place in Europe's elite competition the Reds forward will likely have to console himself with Europa League football at best next season as Rodgers' side are nine points adrift of fourth place.

Europe's heavyweights are bound to come calling in the summer in an attempt to lure Suarez away but Rodgers remains upbeat.

"It is hard to say it is not important because it is as top players want to play at the top level," he said.

"There will always be interest in top players and he is a world class player.

"I speak regularly with Luis and I had a good meeting with his agent a few weeks ago who expressed how much he wants to be a part of things going forward.

"He has is a real affinity here with the players, he is a real leader within the group for us, the supporters adore him, he loves the city and I think he genuinely sees there is a bright future for us.

"It is one where it could have been easy for him to walk out last summer (he instead signed a new contract) but he didn't and he is very happy.

"Hopefully he can see these next couple of years will be very important years for the club and for him.

"I am very confident we can keep making the strides forward and keep adding the quality to the group and keep getting there."

From the moment Downing put the visitors ahead it was virtually one-way traffic - apart from two brilliant saves by Jose Reina - as Suarez created havoc.

"For me there is not a better striker at the moment," added Rodgers.

"He is clearly the player of the year for myself and for many people around the country.

"He is absolutely incredible. Forget about his quality, it is his hunger and desire.

"He never wants to have an easy day and every time he comes onto the pitch he produces stunning performances and gives his maximum.

"It was a brilliant hat-trick for him and a great day for the team: to get the goals and a clean sheet was terrific."

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was bitterly disappointed with his side's display, especially as they had played so well in beating fellow strugglers Reading 3-0 last week.

"The first goal showed a real lack of concentration as Downing had a free header in the six-yard box," he said.

"The first 20 minutes we were very soft and defensively nowhere near where we needed to be.

"That (first) goal had a snowball effect on our performance."

Martinez denied not having a method of negating the threat of Suarez cost them dearly.

"If you look at the stats at the end we had as many shots on target as they had but the performance of Pepe Reina had a bigger effect on the result than us stopping Luis Suarez," he added.

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