Sterling: I don’t want to play against Suarez

The forward is well aware of his Liverpool team-mate’s threat and would prefer not to have to face him in their crucial match

Raheem Sterling says he would rather not face Luis Suarez as he prepares for England’s group game against Uruguay at the World Cup.

An injury saw the Liverpool striker miss his side’s opening game of the tournament as they lost 3-1 to Uruguay but he is expected to be fit to face the Three Lions on Thursday, after recovering from knee surgery.

Sterling is well aware of the danger that his Reds team-mate possesses and would prefer it if Suarez wasn’t involved.

“I’d rather not see him on the pitch! We know he can score some spectacular goals,” he told reporters.

“We’re not just thinking of Luis Suarez. He’s a great player but we have to stop the team. We’ll do everything we can.”

England vice-captain Frank Lampard, also at the press conference, put faith in his defenders to see off all of Uruguay’s talented forward line.

“The solution for Suarez is to defend as well as you can,” said the veteran. “He’s a great player, so is [Edinson] Cavani. We must work hard in the game.

“Suarez was rightly voted player of the year [in the Premier League] but, at the same time, we have top-class defenders in our team who will try to stop him.”

Much has been made of Wayne Rooney’s future in the England team after he was claimed by some to have struggled in a wide role against Italy but Lampard is keen to avoid fixating on individuals.

“Wayne and Raheem are both great players,” he insisted. “If we keep focusing on individuals it could become detrimental to the team.

“We do have a fixation with one player during a World Cup and it can become an agenda. Let’s look at the team and not focus on one player.”

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