Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is confident he will adapt to the demands of English football after scoring on his debut against Stoke City.
The Uruguay forward arrived at Anfield on transfer deadline day from Ajax in a move worth nearly £23million. That deal was dwarfed by the £35million that Liverpool paid Newcastle United for England forward Andy Carroll, after offloading Fernando Torres to champions Chelsea for £50million.
But while the injured Carroll could only sit and watch, Suarez scored Liverpool's second goal in a 2-0 Premier League win over Stoke at Anfield on Wednesday. It appeared the 24-year-old Suarez had carried on from where he left off at Ajax, having scored 111 goals in 159 matches for the Dutch giants.
"I was aware it would be quite tough to settle in and adapt with a quick, rapid style of football, but having seen what I saw against Stoke, let's hope every game turns out like that," Suarez said today. "It is a weight off your shoulders, scoring your first goal. You know everyone is keeping an eye on what you do so it does relax you and helps from the word go.
"But in terms of making the change from Dutch football, it is a case of doing what you have always done, concentrating on your own strengths rather than worrying about defenders. You just have to get on with it and play to your strengths." Suarez is likely to find himself up against Torres when Liverpool travel to Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground in west London on Sunday. And while paying tribute to Torres's skills, the new Liverpool recruit made it clear he had every confidence in his team-mates.
"We all know Fernando is a top player and everyone would like to play with someone of his quality," said Suarez. "Now I am here to play with other great players too. Andy Carroll is not only blessed with great height and strength but he has good technique with his feet also and hopefully we will create a good partnership. But there are other forwards at this club as well who can work together with us to have a positive outcome, do well and get good results."
Suarez also stressed there was no great significance in his decision to opt for the No7 shirt worn with distinction by Kevin Keegan and current Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish - arguably the club's greatest player. "When I saw the list of squad numbers available, I chose seven because it was a number I just fancied," said Suarez.
"It was only afterwards it was pointed out it had such history and significance and obviously the current manager was a former wearer of the shirt - so I know now. But there's no added pressure at all. As soon as I step on the field I forget about what number I am wearing on my back. I am just out there to help the lads and do the best I can for the team."