Rodgers: Judge Suarez on the pitch

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hopes the quality of football played will decide the winner of the PFA Player of the Year award after Luis Suarez was Shortlisted.

Luis Suarez

Suarez is far from the most popular player in the Barclays Premier League, and his admission earlier this season that he had dived in an attempt to win a penalty did little to enhance his reputation, which was tarnished by last season's controversy which saw him banned for eight matches after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

Suarez will face stiff competition from Tottenham's Gareth Bale and Manchester United striker Robin van Persie, but Rodgers hopes the criteria which will be used to ascertain the player of the year will be based on football skills alone.

"I would hope it would be football and consistency," Rodgers said.

"The players that have been mentioned are top-quality players - players like Gareth Bale and Robin van Persie have had outstanding seasons but I can only look at Luis as a player.

"I have the great advantage of working with him and seeing the warrior spirit he is and I don't think there is any club in the country that wouldn't want him in their team.

"What he has done for us this season has been amazing. He would certainly be my favourite for it - and he'd thoroughly deserve it."

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas hailed Bale's "outstanding year" after the Spurs winger was named on the shortlists for both Player and Young Player of the Year.

Bale appears in both categories with Chelsea's Eden Hazard, while Juan Mata and Manchester United's Michael Carrick joining the Welshman, Suarez and Van Persie in the senior category.

In the Young Player shortlist, Bale is pitted against Hazard, United's Danny Welbeck, Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, Christian Benteke of Aston Villa and Romelu Lukaku, who has spent the season on loan from Chelsea at West Brom.

Villas-Boas believes Bale is a big contender to win one, if not both of the awards, after his impact this season.

He said: "Obviously Gazza has had an outstanding year, along with other players.

"He's such a young player and he's had a tremendous impact on the league this year. He's been in great goalscoring form, he's played in so many different positions with such success. His maturity and responsibility is outstanding so it's good to see.

"I think he's in with a big, big chance for what he has produced this season, we've seen some spectacular moments."

Meanwhile, Fulham manager Martin Jol thinks it is "remarkable" only three Englishmen have made the PFA Awards shortlist, with Welbeck and Wilshere being named in the Young Player category with Carrick on the senior list.

"That is remarkable, that is remarkable," the Fulham manager said.

"I think 70 per cent of the players are foreigners and I think that is why people say, especially outside of the Premier League, that it is the toughest league in the world.

"That must be one of the reasons for that statistic, but of course you have to look at your England team as well. How strong are they and how strong will they be in the future?"

However, the Dutchman was pleased to see both Bale and Carrick, who he managed during his time at Spurs, on the shortlist, while he also coached Suarez during the pair's spell with Ajax.

"I am very happy that Carrick is now getting the praise he deserves," Jol said.

"I was a big fan of his years ago and maybe other people had to be convinced, but I was always convinced.

"He is the best passer in England and Suarez is such an unpredictable player. Bale, of course, has exploded over the past two seasons.

"There is not a lot between them. They are three very, very good footballers."

Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez was not surprised to see Hazard and Mata included.

He said: "I'm really pleased. They've shown the level, the quality they have during the season and I am not surprised. I'm really pleased and really proud for them."



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